Robert H. Winner Memorial Award - 2023
There was a lamp spilling light up along the wall.
There was a bird. There was a neighbor
scraping snow off the driveway. There was Schubert.
There was Liszt. I think the bird was black.
I confess, I did not see it. Still, it suggested to me
in a monotone voice that I should change my life. Oh,
also, there was a lake. And there were geese. The geese
I saw, I promise. There was a canvas bag heavy
with food for a party. There was not really a lake, I mean
it was more like a pond. This can be a little difficult
to distinguish. There was talk of pecans, and there was talk
of wine. I know this, because I could taste them.
There was a black bird feeding off entrails. There was sun.
It was not winter. It was not a river, either. The bird
casually mentioned I should change my life. The neighbor
was clearing the driveway of snow. I fell out of my habit
of answering the phone. Sometimes, it would ring
and ring. Yes, hello, there were metaphors everywhere, there
were even three pieces of pie. Always, there was more
to say. Spilled light on the ceiling. A voice’s words
interrupting the music. There was a book by Agnes Martin,
a book by Jean Follain. Listen—there was a very black bird.
Change your life, it whispered. Okay, I whispered back.
This poem previously appeared in Conduit.
Selected by Nuar Alsadir
Trey Moody is the author of Autoblivion (Conduit Books, forthcoming), winner of the Minds on Fire Open Book Prize, and Thought That Nature (Sarabande Books, 2014), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. His poems have been published in The Atlantic, The Believer, and New England Review. He teaches at Creighton University and lives with his daughter in Omaha, Nebraska.