Poem by Torrie Valentine
A man reads my palms and tells me
before this life
I was not good. What I had done
then, I must work out now.
What do I do with his words?
God spins me and then stops me
and I am here, in the night breeze
with the end of my cigarette going
out in the mist. How did I get here?
What moon am I under, what star?
The praying mantis takes the head of her lover
afterward. Was I something like that?
What do the lines say? He runs
his smooth brown hands over the creases
yes, he says, it is possible,
this life will be the same.
The lights from the buildings above me
are not the moon or the stars or God
or love or people. The skyscrapers
are restless, the space between is too great.
They sway in the wind to touch each other.
If they collide it is worth it.
This is what I have done for love,
I swayed into cool metal.
Let the crash come, let the fire come and the smoke
let the windows break, let the sky fall.
The 2017 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry
SECOND PLACE WINNER
We are pleased to announce the second place winner for the 2017 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, honoring the independent press’ best poems of the year. The winner is 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 second place winner receives a printed certificate, publication on Alternating Current’s award page, publication on The Coil, and printed publication in the triennial print award anthology with the selection indicated.
Torrie Valentine is a Cave Canem Fellow, a VONA Voices Alum, a recipient of the Norman Mailer Residency in Poetry, and a holder of an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University. Thus far her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Cavalier Literary Couture, and Mythium Journal of Contemporary Literature, among others.