vii. (the leviathan)

BY MARY BUCHINGER


[This poem has a layout that cannot be rendered properly here. To view the poem as intended, click here for the PDF.]


She studies the leviathan

learns every
 everlasting detail
each mole and dimple, curve of tooth

by heart —

his physiognomy
 so much more
familiar
 to her
than to himself.

How he shifts in the company of others

the ripple
 of self-consciousness
the tics
 she cannot but love

only because she alone
 has paid attention

and this makes him hers.

This knowledge, heart’s sustenance,
harvested
 like pomegranates
 — that honeycombed
 and jeweled fruit
of banishment,
 fertility, promise —

knowledge unwrapped and crushed, juices
 staining her fingers, wrists, arms.

This, the myth she was handed.

Devouring, bit by bit, what one has grown to love —

this, love’s requirement.


The 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry
THIRD PLACE WINNER

We are pleased to announce the third place winner for The 2016 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, honoring the independent press’ best poems of the year. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blindly and selects the full list of finalists. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final. The third place winner receives a printed certificate, publication on Alternating Current’s award page, publication on The Coil, and printed publication in the forthcoming Luminaire Award print anthology collection.


MARY BUCHINGER is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake Press, 2015; shortlisted for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize, and the Perugia Press Prize) and Roomful of Sparrows (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Booth, Border Crossing, Caesura, Cortland Review, DIAGRAM, Existere (Canada), Fifth Wednesday, New Madrid, Nimrod, PANK, SAND (Germany), Salamander, Silk Road Review, Slice Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, Versal (The Netherlands), and elsewhere. She was invited to read at the Library of Congress, received the Daniel Varoujan and the Firman Houghton Awards from the New England Poetry Club, and has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize. Originally from rural Michigan, Buchinger served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and holds a doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Boston University. She is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts.

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