2019 Porch Prize Winner in Poetry

How the gray-white high rise
aadiffuses into gray-white sky, the
aaaametal bones melding into cloud, as
if the hard lines quietly thinned
aaas the steel expanded into vapor.
aaaaHow my mother’s body loosens its hold

on earth and daylight, language
aaand sense. How her hands that rise
aaaaand jab at assailants in the blank air
still reach for a tissue, placing the
aabox back on the table’s edge, tenderly,
aaaahow they wipe the rim of the bucket that

contains the retch of her dry
aaheaves. How her wide eyes in the
aaaabones of her gray face fix themselves
on me as she says my name, her
aathin voice wailing “sorry, sorry,
aaaasorry.” How can she know this lament

is my own? How can she reckon that
aaher eldest daughter, the one she still
aaaaremembers, would press her toward the
precipice, already pictures her rising
aainto mist, seamless like girders, glass,
aaaaand sky—gray-white bones vanishing in fog.


annette sisson lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, dog, and a small flock of hens. She is Professor of English at Belmont University. In her free time, she enjoys baking, hiking, supporting local theater, watching the birds at her feeders, reading, and writing. Her publications include Zone 3 and Rockvale Review, and she has a poem forthcoming in Passager literary magazine, where she was also awarded honorable mention in its spring 2019 poetry contest. She recently won The Porch Writing Collective’s 2019 poetry competition, and her chapbook, A Casting Off, has just been published by Finishing Line Press (June 2019).