By, Jessica Towns

~ Marcia Barton Prize Winner ~


For John Newman

a sentence crept onto my chest last night

as i fell asleep—the warm, fleecy words

of the elegy i’ve tried to write for months.


he would have told me to write it down.

he warned against the slippery fingers

of the mind, the pillow’s downy teeth.


but i thought it was too perfect to forget

and woke up knowing just that there’d

been something to remember—


that something irreplaceable had slipped

out through my curtains into the foggy

night, to live on only in the periphery


like a raccoon’s hungry rustle

or the flicker of a brake light.