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And the poetry winner is...Elizabeth's Fish by Jane Burn

DarkWinter Lit is thrilled to announce that Elizabeth's Fish by Jane Burn was chosen as the winning entry in our 1st Anniversary Contest Poetry category by judge Kim Fahner!

Elizabeth's Fish

see me flail upon the riverbank I cannot breathe I said my body’s long brawn unwatered denuded will wear itself wretched on this mud won’t somebody come and tip me back in ? tell me a story suggests the sky while you work out whether to die or live so here’s a curious thing I said I met Elizabeth Bishop’s fish saw its rack of mouth punctured many times with shank and barb its mouth the sound of needles and tin it spoke its fate through flits of ragged fin it made the occasional cumbersome plunge aimed the alloy roll of each sardonic eye toward my head what is there left said the fish for me but being pulled every now and then into strange realms ? do you really wish to follow me in ? I am nothing more said the fish than a ghost awake when the book is opened erased when the book is closed my tatty skin can still bear a rainbow read me leaping from each line get up go home and start to write you can still be luminous said the fish the sun will strike your sides your language will be light there are some who will always answer you said the fish with rod with line they will try to catch you no matter what you do answer them with the bones that you shape with your pen but for now said the fish lie still it’s not all about fighting lie still said the fish and learn the ways of air lie still my tremendous friend and take it in

Jane Burn is a working-class, autistic, pansexual hybrid writer. She is widely published. Jane has an MA in Writing Poetry. In 2022, Jane explored her neurodivergent writer’s experiences, funded by ACE. In 2023 she received a grant from the RLF. Her latest collection, Be Feared, is available from Nine Arches Press.


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