“The Third Daughter” by Allie Spensley
Avon Lake, Ohio, United States
Avon Lake High School, Grade 11
Allie Spensley lives in Avon Lake, Ohio. She’s been “writing” for as long as she can remember, but only started seriously reading and writing contemporary short fiction/poetry a few years ago. A cause that Allie is most passionate about is education, particularly in areas with low literacy rates or where girls are prevented from attending school. She hope to attend college after graduating high school next year, although she’s still unsure as to what she would like to study.
From 2015 Young Writers Contest Judge Stephen Kuusisto:
Allie’s poem starts with an arresting and altogether haunting couplet:
I am the lost battles in my mother’s eyes
when she hands me to my father and breaks
There’s wisdom we can attest to, and often it’s delivered by the smallest gestures—“lost battles” in a “mother’s eyes” is a sophisticated and delicate image, the stuff of true poetry. Though these opening lines offer compression, they are also as big as a Russian novel: “she hands me to my father and breaks” speaks of immense sadness and coming tragedy.
I was born to see my brothers sprout
from the earth like spring tongues, immaculate,
while I watched from the window: a living
sacrifice at an altar of false honor.
This fall, my brothers will go to school
and I will learn the kerosene hidden in
a man’s eyes.
This is again, poetry of witness, every image is precise and poignant and true. Allie is a genuine poet and this is memorable writing!
Allie’s winning poem will be featured in our 2016 edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts.
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