2022

1st Place Winner

Nichole Zachary / Reno, NV
Plastic Shovels

I was eight years old at the Carmel Beach
the water was freezing, but I wanted
to one day visit the North Pole. Then, a polar bear
was just a bear with a sewn shut
smile and button eyes, and cold water
could be chased away by large, warm hands.
 
My sister had buried all but her head
in the grains of potential glass,
and I pointed out she was the opposite
of an ostrich in fear. The biggest
birds with the littlest heads
only protecting the smallest parts of themselves.
 
I miss that child version of me that believed
she could swim from the California coast
to Hawaii in the stroke of an arm.
And when my keen eyes could see things far away
as I circled my pale hands over them.
 
Now the sand sticks to my feet
like thick woolen socks, patches
of seaweed dry in the half-shining sun
and my sister’s children build
tiny graves to bury the beached
jellyfish who’ve lost their sting.

2nd Place Winners


Kyle Baeder / San Francisco, CA
The Wind

Sarah Baer / Pleasanton, CA
Alcoholic

John Baker / Baltimore, MD
Pennsylvania Railroad, 1982

Becca Bornstein / Magnolia, NJ
Acrylic Faces

Yajaira Campana / New York, NY
Chivalrous

Ryan Crawford / South Boston, VA
Ballet Popcorn

Maya Fillion-Ritchie / Toledo, OH
The Girl Becomes a Black Hole

Eliza Gilbert / New York, NY
Cages in the Afternoon

Ava Harper / Georgetown, TX
Only Thorns

Kate Jones / Honolulu, HI
A Miracle or a Hex

Tulip June / Downey, CA
Water the Plastic Tulips

Corrinne Mica / Los Angeles, CA
Daffodils and Daisies

Jackie Michaud / Oxford, OH
Remembrance of the Lake

Leo Miller / Sammamish, WA
Buzz Cut Baptism

Heather Pacheco / Lake Worth, FL
Fish

Bobbi Patton / York, PA
Sweet Tooth

Haley Rule / Eatonton, GA
Camel Lights

Piper Samuels / Culver City, CA
Breakaholic

Nicole Son / La Canada, CA
Falling Moon

Catherine Tang / Northbrook, IL
Hunting

3rd Place Winners

Gideon 6ix / Spring, TX
Closed Vision, a Heart Deprived of Sight

John Allen / Albany, NY
Dust

Sammy Anderson / North Hollywood, CA
Dying to Keep the Death at Bay

Ninabella Arlis / Downers Grove, IL
The Fruits of Friendship

Isabella Athanasiou / Deer Park, NY
Ink Stains

Pedro Avalos Jimenez / Barrington, IL
To Orpheus

Kris Bailey / Manhattan, KS
Vegetation Consisting of Typically Short Plants

Coleman Barrett / Syracuse, UT
Sedated Shadow

Chloe Bowen / Durango, CO
Forgotten Honey Wheat

Sadie Brebes / Los Angeles, CA
Mama

Katelynn Budzyn / Naugatuck, CT
Ode to the Rain

Audra Burwell / Fresno, CA
Firebird

Ciarra Butikofer / Coralville, IA
Amuse Me

Sara Codd / Spokane, WA
Breakfast

Paula Compo-Pratt / Westville, NJ
Illegals

Jeff Culling / Hollywood, FL
A Grown Man Crying

Emily Cummings / Santa Ynez, CA
Wasteland

Justin Cyr / Sunnyside, WA
The Lonely Position of Neutral

Elizabeth D’andrea / West Hartford, CT
On Cold Tea

Drew Dent / Cleveland, GA
The Fiefs

Paulina Dsouza / Porter Ranch, CA
Rats Star

Elise Eichner / Hingham, MA
Pernicious Pastries

Charles Ellison / Augusta, GA
Chambers of Secrets

Seth Everhart / Sherwood, OR
The House in the Forest

Harley Feria / Gilbert, AZ
Lost in the Fire, Lost in the Blaze

Chloe Fleming / Columbus, OH
The Year I Was Outside Myself

Maddie Ford / Bellevue, WA
Nosebleed

Bryan Fredrickson / Concord, NH
Toy Gun

Abbie Galipeau / Woburn, MA
Sage Green Satin

Katelyn Gan / Irvine, CA
Dear Grandpa,

Rhode Gardere / Union, NJ
Persea Americana

Paul Goodsin / Dover, NH
Mixed Media

Emily Harragan / Frederick, MD
Bans

Anna Harry / Chicago, IL
The Sound of Silence

Samuel Hart / Greenville, SC
To A, My Love

Nancy Haydock / Turlock, CA
Crows

Rosemary Heckard / Arlington Heights, IL
In Verse

Sarah Henry / Henryville, PA
Silly Freshman Girl

Star Henwood / Valencia, PA
Snakes and Denim

Emma Herrod / Ligonier, PA
Untitled

James Hochbrueckner / San Diego, CA
Kintsugi

Sarah Hofaker / Atlanta, GA
Stupor

David Huff / Auburndale, FL
War Watch

Sara Hutchinson / New Castle, DE
An Apology to the Wrong Whale

Arielle Johnson / Yellow Spgs, OH
Palatable

Patrick Kelso / Boulder City, NV
No Pleasure Without Pain

Anita Kottapalli / Holland, OH
Message in a Cocktail Glass

Harper Ladd / Suwanee, GA
New Year’s Eve
Robert Lamm / Clarkston, MI
Swiss Watches

Malcolm Lane / Camden, AR
Regression

Neria Leander / Alfred, NY
Prophesody

Milani Lee / Santa Clarita, CA
Her Final Ballroom

Tay Leppik / New York, NY
The Residual Intersection of Joy + Sorrow

Kyra Lopez / Yorkville, IL
Fun House

Dimas Mata Martinez / Phoenix, AZ
Apparition

Caitlin McDargh / Panama City Beach, FL
The Stingray

Askadeline Milanes / New York, NY
Heaven Lies

Kelly Millar / Lockport, NY
Love to Death and Souvenirs

Robert Mucci / Winnetka, IL
B Rated

Nolan Murphy / Mountain View, CA
Sandpaper Shoes

Mallory Nikols / Glen Ellyn, IL
Mother and I

Awa Ouattara / Sarasota, FL
Daedalus’s Dissuasion

Penelope Parker / Yorktown, NY
A Single Flame for the Eternal Winter

Kendal Parks / York, PA
I’m Just a Boy Not a Soldier

Jaime Pineda / San Diego, CA
Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Maxine Poe-Jensen / Easton, MD
Love and Friendship

Josephine Quenette / Gladstone, OR
My Sibylline Love

William Quetula / Lihue, HI
Lull/Null at Sea

Alexandra Quick / Sparks, NV
An Apology Is a Bowl of Fruit

Rohini Ramanathan / Oceanside, NY
Decency

Hannah Ramsby / Traverse City, MI
Pyrotechnics

Anthony Reyna / Sherwood, OR
The Last Day of School

Tyrone Rotunno / Whittier, CA
O Moon

Andy Rowe / Peoria, IL
Chamomile

Kaitlyn Sabb / Ann Arbor, MI
Just Like You

Lindsay Sadlowski / Melbourne, KY
Open Your Eyes

Daniela Sanchez / Orange, CA
I Hope You Read This

Gary Seifert / Falls Church, VA
Shadowland

Nancelis Serrano / Rosenberg, TX
Midnights in June

Salleel Shah / Simi Valley, CA
Origin

Hudson Simmons / Greendale, WI
The Love Between Columns and Rows

Roy Smith / Quakertown, PA
Narcoleptic Cat

Adeline St. Phillip / Bronxville, NY
When the Actor Cries

Evan Stayton / Saint Ann, MO
Constancy’s Muse

Aamari Taylor / Downers Grove, IL
Bladed Tongue

Christopher Taylor / Montclair, CA
Self-Taught

LeRoy Thielman / Oshkosh, WI
Supercilious Balderdash

Chelsea Thorne / Northfield, NH
The Abyss of Girlhood

Layla Todd / Vesuvius, VA
Empyrean Dive Into Past Self

Sara Vanderclute / Apex, NC
Seeking Water

Amanda Waggoner / Potter, NE
Thin

Sofia Wang / Palatine, IL
The Olympic Dream

Lorelei Watkins / Rocklin, CA
Soup

Isabella Welty / Leawood, KS
Peanut Butter



Yinbo Zhang / Atlanta, GA
Lost