Poetry Spring 2017, Fourth Place: “Colonial Composition” by Brett Salsbury

We received an extraordinary number of amazing submission for our first poetry contest of the year, and it took much hard work from our poetry staff to make the final decisions. Congratulations to Brett Salsbury for taking fourth place in the Spring Poetry Contest of 2017! 


Colonial Composition

With that, I accomplish a great, basic stitch.
Only a BIC lighter can undo it     maybe
a match.

Layered quite nicely with roots         yes,
this originally resulted in yucca.

Hemp could be used, or the heart
of banana leaf      tie it tightly
and wear it, cook it.

Paint or beat only your mug.
Stop it               this isn’t your language.
or art.

Pay heed to the tension, the paleness
of your face             this may take years.

All I can promise is a gift, a form
right there if you take it—

but be wary of using too many words.


Brett Salsbury is a goat. Originally from Kansas, he now roams the neon-lit lands of the Las Vegas Valley after finishing his MFA at UNLV. He also guides tours of a retired casino sign collection. His work has appeared in Words Dance Publishing, Foothill, Fourculture, GTK Creative, and Posit.

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