Happy New Year! I ended 2022 on a high note with an Honorable Mention in the Illinois State Poetry Society 2022 Poetry Contest in the Free Verse category. The seeds of this poem, "In a Cemetery," were sown all the way back in 2004 during a grave rubbing exercise at a local cemetery in Frederick, Maryland, for one of my college Biology classes. Talk about a work in progress, but worth the wait:
I stand before my work and gather odd satisfaction.
Tracing others’ heavy layers of mortality
(rubbing facts, figures, and inscriptions),
I ignore my own.
I find myself on a roadway between eras.
Modern plots to my right, ancient ones to my left—
One side glittering rows of teeth,
The other a nest of jutting bones.
I’m filled with a peculiar joy that I’m here and it’s such a pretty day.
That I’ve ambled along these quiet pathways,
Standing next to graves lined in perfect, sunken rows,
And feel at peace among them.
"In a Cemetery," copyright 2023 Amelia Cotter (Honorable Mention, Free Verse Award, Illinois State Poetry Society 2022 Poetry Contest)