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prompts


Here’s your prompt! Submit poem responses to: voxpoeticasubmissions@gmail.com. And if you have a photo or piece of artwork you took that you’d like us to consider as a Prompts image, send that as well! 

“Dead Woman’s Crossing” by Nathan Gunter

Lights at Sunset
By Laura Zucca-Scott

All I can see is the light
Not the bright lights
Staring in the face of nothingness

But the other light
A soft one
Red and pink and yellow
Sadness suffused in hope

This is the sunset
We all fear
A bridge
A life
Missing tomorrow

Chernobyl Evacuee’s Lament, Polesskoye Village
By Ilona Martonfi

Steel sarcophacus
north of Kiev, Ukraine

What sounds?

Zone of alienation
by the Pripyat River
could it happen again?
The crude amnesia

a subject, which provokes fear
cesium and plutonium
on a Saturday 26 April 1986.
Overgrown with lichen

village elementary school
this is your sister
Katya’s thyroid cancer
shuttled between orphanages
we’ll sit, sometimes, and say:
“Where is babusya?”

Old cemetery inside the zone
surrounded by barbed wire
nesting black storks.
On the ninth day after Easter
we tidy up tombs
set a table with embroidered cloth
bring plastic flowers
toast with plum brandy.

How to forget it?

Windows broken. Doors.
Untended kitchen garden.
Apple trees. Pear trees.

Mutant wild boars
wolves, lynx

radioactive isotopes

timber house falling.

Dead Woman’s Crossing
By Nathan Gunter

They say she’s still down there
calling for her child.

The one her blood-soaked traveling companion—
a woman of reputation, so they say—
dropped, crying, at a house up the creek.

The woman who, when police caught up with her
a hundred miles away
took poison
and died.

They’d met the day before,
when she, a battered wife on the train
running back to her father,
baby clutched to her breast
just over the heart
that was flying
like she wished the train
was flying.

Her new friend
offered to take her the rest of the way.
Their carriage went into the field
and came out
with one less passenger
and a wheel covered in blood.

A man and his son found her body weeks later
and collected the reward.

I used to listen out my window
for her voice.
All I heard
were the coyotes
and the rustling
of the tall grass
along the bank.