Award Winners

The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award - 2020

David Keplinger

Reading Emily Dickinson in Amherst Massachusetts

I know how it feels      to live      in a small leaden room,

with only snakes and birds      as consolation.      I know how

to imagine death      by falling      through storeys

of floorboards      like a poem flutters      through molecules, air

and time. It never lands      in the yard.      The trick

is not to die      while dreaming      of death. That’s why

the circle of doors      and windows here      remain open

a little.      That’s why the poems      seem always to end

on slant rhymes, and dashes.      That’s why      the hawthorn cone

is never quite      in full bloom      but almost. I too      come here

respectfully.      I bow, halfway      at thresholds.      I know how to wait

at a completely empty window,      holding out my hands.