These poems were produced by people who watched the workshop The Succinct Striptease of Short Form Poetry from The Southern Literary Festival Online 2020. People watched this 15 minute lecture on imagery and followed the prompt by writing a poem about the picture above. By doing so they earned their residency in the Residence Hall, and here they are with their work:
Olly olly oxen free / Constance Bourg
I would like to be in one of those photographs where we all jump at once
But I wouldn’t be able to jump as high
to stay suspended
in the air like that
I would look less than
and make everyone else feel awkward
but they would throw me reassurances
like you throw a rubber duckie to a babe that screams in the bath
I know all too well
to hide my phobias under the bell jar
tuck them behind pearls, behind the Gehry chair and table
a spriteling dance
to avoid the microscope
Inevitable Epitaphs / Amy Alexander
Beneath the glass a pretty cake. We asked
The bakery girl to label it in red.
Swinging, swallowed, door closed, was she masked
Enough? Microscopic droplets of dread
Are weighed against the sloppy, loosely-gloved.
But the icing was pearled. And that little girl
You once were ignites like X-ray. You loved
A Barbie birthday I couldn’t get for you. Purple
Ballerinas put away for headphones now.
Soap opera sex. Billie’s tarantula.
Drive home, steady the box. Math is how
You decide we are safe. “Bye, Corona!”
Your message written on a cake for laughs
Smarts like inevitable epitaphs