Origin of the Species
by Ainsley Drew

First Place, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize

Our relationship was a terminal cancer patient
Leaving chemo only to be hit by a bus.

I’ve never missed the irony
That fertilizer can be made
Into homemade bombs or flower beds.

Like how your name means healer
And mine means hermit
Burrowed in a meadow, hypogeal in a field.

My mother used to call me by my father’s name, David
Accuse me of breaking up their marriage, no longer a doctor’s wife.
Her brother still calls me by her name, Virginia
Smothers me in soil and plucks her maiden features from my face.

I am the union between a man whose father witnessed the loss of his virginity
And a woman whose father beat her until both tiny legs were left in a brace.

I am a cluster of cells in traffic.
I am the seed that stays mute in the dirt.

It’s impossible to predict next summer’s harvest
When this winter’s freeze has burst all the pipes.

It’s impossible to repack Pandora’s luggage
Once it’s been tilled for explosives by the TSA.

I’m standing in the waiting area at the arrival gate
Though you’ve only traversed the threshold of departures.

Lost lover without a collar, it’s too late.

Once the cat’s let out of the bag
It keeps running
Into oncoming traffic.Running sport media | balerínky