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IPA's Pushcart Prize Nominations for 2023

Christopher Hunter


Louisa alighting into place
Always dazzles me.

She twists with surpassing grace
Into an inverted curtsey.
Her arms smoothly interlace,
As she gets all topsy-turvy.
Until, in sudden about-face,

She folds her knees,
And flees.

Susan J Koch


I cannot disremember
three carefree boys
dragging a bear cub
through Macedonia Square -
a ring through its

John Mitchell


The ghost of the Tsar walks.
He passes some Jews and Gypsies.
One curses him; another throws a rock.
Bad angels fold their wings and watch.

Choirs sang at his birth,
Armies moved at his command.
God rang the bells
When he walked into cathedrals.
But now he hears the noise from out the east
And sees the fire in the western sky.

Death crowned him at his birth,
His cousins glittered throughout Europe.
He seldom followed good advice
And did not ask permission.
He lost a navy in a foreign sea
And an army gone at Tannenberg,
But still he played the emperor.
Magnificence is blind and deaf,
And death took all his dynasty.

Alise Palmer


A boy green shouldered, grows
like corn endlessly and over night.
There is no laying on of hands
and praying him small again. He
will not be touched like that.

His eyes are the color of home -
almond and curious with episodes
of Breughel. He wants life in
detail and spilling
from his pockets.

His laughter cannot be
attached to anything. It leaves
like silver paper geese
in shimmering specks
and fills the air
surrounding for acres
at the speed of memory.

Rose Postma


My mother, who spent the day after my birth trying to decide
how to tell my father she didn't want another child

but went on to have eight more, says: the doctors will tell you
the pain of giving birth is erased by hormones and endorphins

scrubbed from the slick surface of every sensory pathway
and the anterior cingulate cortex, wiped clean like

a school bus window on a thick tule fog morning
by the back of your hand, but the pain is still there

like the letters you traced with the tip of your cold finger
in the steam on the glass, waiting for your hot breath

to reveal them again and again, waiting to spell out
what agony means. The pain: it's latent like an undertow

beneath the ice on a Canadian lake, like a knot
held down by the lacquer of an oak tabletop.

To read poems of previous IPA Pushcart Prize Nominees:

IPA Nominees for the 2023 Pushcart Prize
IPA Nominees for the 2022 Pushcart Prize
IPA Nominees for the 2021 Pushcart Prize

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