2013 Amy Award

The 2013 Amy Award recipients are Desiree Bailey, Emily Barton, Nabila Lovelace, and Shireen Madon.  Below are excerpts from their winning entries.

Desiree Bailey

Wherever The Ashes May Be


I am trying to bury your jaw

slightly dislodged

a box

opened from hinges

hacked by hatchet


Your laugh

string of pearls rising

from a shipwreck

thirsting for

the last howl of sun

       last lap of sequined parade

       last gasp of eyelid


I am trying to bury the tube

that wormed its way

       into belly

the taunt of foods

you would never taste again

your hand   stiff


like a worn novena

gnarled choreography of your face


You are the flambeau


against its bottle

throwing your crotch

       in the mouth

of a motorcycle

singeing asphalt

       til it blows away



Desiree Bailey was born in Trinidad and Tobago and has called Queens, NY a second home for many years. She graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in English and then moved to Cape Town, South Africa through the Princeton in Africa Fellowship. She is a 2013 Norman Mailer Fellow and will begin an MFA in fiction at Brown University in the fall of 2013. 



Emily Barton




Nothing, then — a void sealed, waiting to vent

its volcanic, receding rhyme; cracked, halved,

but smooth, new — “repurposed.” Let it not bend

or lead back to where it began. Unsolved,

let it remain but not as remains. To

follow fissures to their logical drains

would be to repeat, as if weeping, blue

eyes and capillaries — the color stains

and never quite fades. Your fragile limit

already wavers and beats its pulse on

pulse — steady, as your hand and its kismet

grasp levels sound, rising to pitch upon

the second guess, reaching only to find

what is there is not what was left behind.


First published in Wicked Alice, July 2013.



Emily Barton is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry at New York University. She serves as the Managing Editor for Washington Square Review, and has previously worked for Another Chicago Magazine and the Michigan Quarterly Review. She lives in Brooklyn.

Nabila Lovelace


False Prophets


My Grandmother

is so much Jesus

That my mother

Was baptized

By the holy water

of her womb.


Which made

My mother

So much Jesus

that her throat

was a staircase

of tattered

hymnals; she

coughed debris

of Psalms.


But in church they said,

Jesus was a man.

So I thought,


My Uncle

was Jesus, because

he fumbled his

blood into wine;

fashioned a keg

out of the legs

of his wooden table

and drank from

the spout.


He was the kind

of drunk that

made my Aunt

wrap the breakables

in newspaper and

place them in

the closet. The kind

of drunk,

that morphed her

mouth into a kitchen

drawer of knives.


One Saturday,

he used his

sons body as a

windshield wiper

for the wall,


I then learned

that drunk men

are not Jesus,

they are




Nabila Lovelace is a born and raised Queens native, as well as a first generation American.  Her parents hail from Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria.  She is a graduate of Emory University, where she majored in History with a concentration in Latin America and the Non-Western World and minored in African American studies.

Shireen Madon


No Fabliau for Love

Who we need we need with lengths of wool. Who we need we need with Moorish

winds, with leavened loaves a young boy bicycles home before the morning’s thimble

of prayer. Who we need we shed our skins for, our black fallen shapes left earthy anecdotes

in desert. Who we need we migrate with the bee eaters to, taste cherries from tree to tree—

more sour to the North, when North moves farther each year. Who we need we need

with a coast of Aleppo pine, a woman resting beneath the pine whispering in veiled sleep

the world imagined is the ultimate good. Who we need we fall to with birds of paradise pecking

our eyes till we are numb and begging for mercy. We are evenings for whom we need. We

are ablaze for whom we need. Who we need we need with the gold of green, with whiff

of semolina and honey of the day’s first bread.


First published in The Journal.


Shireen Madon holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she was awarded the Bennett Poetry Prize. Her work has recently appeared in Third Coast, DIAGRAM, Barnstorm, The Journal, and elsewhere.

Read More About the Amy Award