Fall Poetry 2016: Honorable Mention, “Overrun” by Elya Braden

We had an enormous number of excellent submissions for our Fall Poetry 2016 Contest, which gave us the delightful opportunity to name several Honorable Mentions. We are excited to present one of these Honorable Mentions, which are in no particular order. Please enjoy!



Elya Braden

My body was a highway interchange. 
     Father, brother, frat boy,  
          preacher’s son


All the “no’s” I couldn’t say like nickels
     dimes and quarters tossed  
          into the pockets of my tollbooth.


People say I look like my mother, but my father’s nose 
     dominated my teenage face until a doctor’s 
          hammer and file erased daddy’s grip. 


But I can’t scrape his freckles from my arms. 
     They lead me back to childhood   
          an atlas of fingerprints rising from my skin.   


My mother confides that she met a woman she thinks  
     is her half-sister, the legacy of her father’s affair 
          when she was 11. 11, my age when my father 


scored with his office confidant and co-worker. 
     11, my age when my parents threatened to divorce.  
          Infidelityis it a gene passed down to me? 


Alone at the beach, I dream of my former lover 
     kissing me in taxis, in his tiny two-seater, in my green convertible.
          Moving forward, on a divided highway.


The blackberry vines overrun my garden. 
     They suckle from deep roots, choke my cool mint.
          Their red hunger ripens to purple, bursts.

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