Rift

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2017 Barrett Winner

2nd Place Joshua Hillary

I squeeze my husband’s hand,
wiping my eyes
and walking alongside
the smoldering wreckage.
We move as elusive as
whirling plumes of dust,
side-stepping the stone remains
of homes in the Port-au-Prince.
Avoiding the flames
that dance aloft the ashes
of tables, chairs, and
tinder sticks.
A plastic bag
skips down the road,
clinging onto a
shoe rising
walking away
from the rubble,
swaying like
a white flag
until it’s set loose,
floating into the
distant haze
towards the shadows
of men scrambling
in the distance.
We will
live on

In a photograph,
on a Television screen,
lying
on a cozy living room table,
we are imprisoned—
trapped—frozen between
four white polaroid walls.
We are the
epicenter
of a voyeur’s fleeting sympathy.
Her eye peeking
through the glass,
through the photo,
and into my living room.
She’s wearing a silk robe,
stoking the fire in
her chimney and
blowing yellow snot
into her white linen handkerchief.