2019 Pushcart Prize Nominations
Dec 10 ● BY The Editors
The editorial staff here at Porter House Review couldn’t be more excited to celebrate our nominees for the 2019 Pushcart Prize. While PHR celebrates publishing every piece of poetry, prose, and art that our wonderful contributors submitted over the past year, please join us in congratulating these exceptional artists and writers.
I wasn’t prepared when her eyes opened, and she looked at me with absolute clarity, fully conscious, making me feel ridiculous. The image of that moment is sharp as glass at the end of the tunnel. There may have been fear in her look, desperation, fury, but there wasn’t a hint of giving in. Her look lasted only a few seconds, then her eyes closed on my foolishness. Her look shut me up, just like when I was a kid talking stupid. She knew I knew better.
“Getting into a character makes you keep looking for the thing in yourself you don’t want to find,” I said. Well, technically, Philip Seymour Hoffman had said that, but what did they know? “I think we should all try that at least once.”
I had immersed myself into America so fully, succumbing to its soft, rolling English with such abandon, that encountering someone from my country of origin felt like a kind of violation. I hadn’t been to Finland in eight years, almost never spoke the language in New York, and considered myself fully integrated. I had long since stopped checking American tree trunks for authenticity, scratching with my nail to see whether it left a mark, as I had done during my first year. I had seen the leaves of the trees grow and fall and grow again, had missed their green shadows in the desolation of winter. I was here. This was real. Finland was a souvenir.
“It’s Gram, Bud. Gram died.”
His eyes open. He looks into me.
“You did so good, Mom.”
To the spider bags or sacs of flies
woven like god’s eyes in the trees’ hips
I say, batting, batting, the quintessence
of spring. If the eye were an animal, sight would be its soul.
On the kitchen wall some faux-antique signs (about what family stands for, about what
home means) that’ve had time beaten into them with socks full of nails.