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38th Poetry Award Winner

Rosa Lane - El Cerrito, California

Father
By Rosa Lane
My father stitches the backyard.I say
my father because my mother knows
my father has returned as a hummingbird.
I say stitches because the hummingbird
threads blooms bush to bush, his needle

beak basting stamen housed within skirts
of petals, mending rips of difference.

That last night, his daughters sat in a circle
puckered tight to his bed.I was one of them.
We leaned to tend each small flicker of life
left. How could we survive without him?
He had already begun to hover
             above us.I know now
what he was thinking:
         If they could only admire
         my new ruby throat, my
         emerald green pulse suspended,
         my beating wings few ever see.
This moment was complicated.
Our mother bloomed open against hospital white,
she saw her daughters: rearranged patterns of him,
                    perennial and timeless.
She took each daughter's face in her hands,
let us go for the first time.
                                         That night
three birds of paradise flew up-stem
                        into a sky he left us      to fly into.
Rosa Lane received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1982.  Her work has appeared in Briar Cliff Review, Crab Orchard Review, Milvia Street Journal, New South, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. Lane’s poetry manuscript, Tiller North, won the 2014 Submissions Competition at Sixteen Rivers Press and will be published in spring 2016.
Connect with Rosa on Twitter: @rosalanepoet
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