? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 7

Contest Winners

Meredith Strickler


Runner-Up Contestant,

God put his red finger on our stomach
like a first-class stamp, set us in the center
of things, took us to where history spins
and begin. Nothing stays too long:
In some moments you might recite
the names of all your shoes. At other times,
you’ll add up all the flickering taillights,
the cars and buses headed anywhere but here.
Finally, you will sew socks into quilt-squares
and sleep under the first furl of starlight.
You wanted freedom and got what?
A shopping mall? Your hallways painted
bronze? Our errors are the new optimism:
Glass shattered almost everywhere, a heap
of something burns underneath cloth,
the sunset purples the pavement below
our smoke bombs. Oh, the dead?
That’s no accident. We’ll say the passing
of flowers is not a mistake. It’s what we do
to keep moving. To built parking lots.
To stack brick on brick on stone brick.
We’re building our way home with roads
as sure as bone.