Award Winners

Robert H. Winner Memorial Award - 2023

Trey Moody


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.