The Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize
Tandem Hang-Gliding Incident
An anniversary gift, her first time doing it
Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, hugged the pilot
from behind as instructed, ran with him
awkwardly to the edge and stepped
into the wind-tug beyond anyone’s reach—
her harness not clipped on. She fell
like Icarus a thousand feet, melting
from sight with the pilot’s shoes
into a sea of limbs webbed with leaves
down, down to the forest floor.
Her boyfriend, filming it,
stopped. Love screamed
through the air as he ran down
Mt. Woodside to find her.
Until he did, there was hope.
The pilot glided back to an open
mouthed crowd, to his twelve
year old daughter watching,
and swallowed the memory
card onboard. His fiftieth birthday.
Who hasn’t known each of them
in dreams?--where we fall without
falling, see what can’t be happening,
get to creatively escape a bad scene.
And wake relieved, our lives still
hanging by a thread of assumptions.
Lynne Burnett lives in West Vancouver, B.C. Publications include North Shore Magazine, CV2, Geist, Pedestal Magazine, Malahat Review, Calyx, Modern Haiku, Pandora’s Collective, New Millennium Writings and Taos Journal of Poetry (Fall 2016). In 2011, she was shortlisted for both Arc’s Poem of the Year and the Bridport Prize; in 2012 for both the New Letters Poem of the Year and the Bridport Prize, and also placed in several contests. She has self-published one chapbook, Stealing Eternity, and has poems forthcoming in a Tupelo Press chapbook anthology.
We're sharing, with her permission, Lynne's response to winning the Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize:
I am absolutely over the moon with this good news! What a perfect start to 2017! Though I’ve placed, or won honorable mention many times, this is the first contest of this caliber that I’ve ever won. As an older poet (having put writing on the back burner for 20 years, to raise a family) this is a huge thumbs up – my Ithaca, if you will. I feel very honoured that Allison Joseph chose this poem; I find her own poems very relatable and “tight”. And, of course, IthacaLit itself is such a beautiful and intelligent journal, it’s a real acknowledgment to have any poem of mine, contest or not, showcased. Happy New Year indeed!
Our Guest Judge, Allison Joseph, chose Lynne Burnett's poem from many contenders. Joseph said, in an interview with Kiandra Jiminez, "Often it’s the small moments, that through the amplification of poetry, reveal the larger, more profound truths that we all come to recognize and treasure." Although the moment depicted in the winning poem is not a small moment, it is a moment that reveals the "larger, more profound truths" that makes this poem more universal than the tragic news of a young woman's sudden departure from this earth. This poem cups the Difficult Fruit that leaves its witnesses marked.