2017 Poetry Contest Runner-up: Noah Baldino

The beauty of this poem is how it resists the urge to pull punches, placing its readers in a position beyond that of witness: if this is what I must endure, you must help me endure it. Help me gather the teeth, confettied against the glinting pipes. Help me see the dead flies / mottled / a swarm of distant, dark balloons. Do not be mistaken – this is no sad resignation but, instead, the blood-holy howl of a body refusing to be shaped by its enemies.

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