1st Place: The rules of punctuation.

By Maria Nikitina

Will you help me to tie my shoe laces,
Reach your hand with a white cotton tissue, Up the stairs drag heavy suitcases;
When I’m wrong, will you say there’s no issue?

Will you read the instructions out loud If I sit next to you and listen?
Will you make scary wasps fly out While I lie under blankets in frisson?

Will you tie woolen care round my neck Or dilute boiling tea with cool water, Ask me whether I’m fine just to check, Catch me fall as I slipper or totter?

you silently steal my question marks

I will do further maths calculations, Volunteer, sleep five hours a night, Go through sweat, blood and tears for vocation,

Close the curtains

a minute to think
and that’s too long and just enough to shove a tiny
tear
into my pocket

it is empty
the pocket is empty too

I can build concrete walls of a castle
Lock the doors, chain them up for defense Find a dragon who’ll hear any rustle
And surround it all with a fence.

hide-and-seek
is definitely
not the game I am playing

more of wait-and-see

and if you appear on the horizon to join the game, I will strangle the dragon myself

When you leave, I’ll continue with business Busy women are busy enough
To immerse in the world of whatever
Just to think there is no time to laugh

Though there is. It’s the absence of reasons- Human ones that recur through the seasons.

wish I could articulate more than an ellipsis

i tie
a question mark into a lasso and drag you back

 

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