1st Place : Ecotone | Christine Bettis

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1st Place : Ecotone | Christine Bettis


How will we ever meet?

You and I and our almost fatal alliance
all crave touch
The place where our ecologies are in tension
You eucalyptus forest, in uncontrollable nearness, to blind clearing me

Listen to me
We’ll find each other soon, swoon
then dredge the nearby green lake
and exchange nutrients in the controlled burn
Sound such desperate, bending explosions
and grin

Seeds born to the ash bed stay, honeyed by the pine sun
Want to go wherever we go, we know that, but can’t
Not while mother is ash and worms writhe inside the clock
The seeds, in the meantime, imitate our deaths when they want us
Each day they pretend wrap us in graveclothes and pretend bury us
All before the unrelieved creamy line of dawn rolls up
and irons the night away

These children: adapting death: know that this
is where their power comes from
and they stir it, until it’s time we won


Christine Bettis is an MFA candidate in Poetry at UNLV, where she teaches composition, reads for Witness, and works in the English Department as an assistant to the Creative Writing Coordinator. She is originally from Detroit, Michigan.