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Jenny Moon, 2024 1st Place Poetry

Submissions for Poetry are open to one poem that was completed for coursework during the last calendar year. Submissions should not exceed 5 pages. Jenny Moon wrote the 1st place submission in the Poetry Category for the 2024 President’s Writing Awards.

About Jenny

Jenny Moon

Jenny Moon is a non-traditional student studying creative writing and film. She is passionate about lyric poetry and creative non-fiction. Her studies are culminating this semester with her first poetry collection titled, “Last Days at the Round House.” Jenny’s poetry mines the social, economic, mythological, and the personal from a matrilineal angle. Her final project is a collaboration that explores the theme of wounded motherhood. Jenny believes poetry is an art form rich with collaborative potential. During her studies at BSU she has made experimental short films exploring poetry, ritual, and heroic motherhood. In addition to penning her poetry collection, she is currently writing her memoir. She is a mother of two and the grandmother of four.

Winning Manuscript – Shaped by the River Lena

for Anya and her “Slatki” Maria

She meant to, she didn’t, she couldn’t, she did
not want to. She could defy the arrangement.
She could run. If only she knew the geography.
She might have. Marrying a single tongued
peacock wasn’t her lot. Caw caw. Such limited
vocabulary. She prayed for a gulf to open that
she might be swallowed by the earth or fly away
to the sun.

Before she was a girl like me, she moved the sun.
She was a girl wanting.

She was a girl shaping rivers. She was the Angara,
the Reka, the Lena dreaming the sea.

Before the altar, the peacock hadn’t the language
to say he’d deny her the daughter she wanted.
The waiting daughter. The me to be.

She claimed she’d die without me. Or with me,
if she had me. She’d disappear from this life
without me. She prayed to the Angara, the Reka,
the Lena and the glassy sea to gift her me.
The great waters conspired, impregnated her
with me. She grew me. I was waiting. I was elated.

When she birthed me, a crater opened and the
placenta dropped in. For days, we stayed amongst
the desert blooms. She smoothed our cord. For awhile
she didn’t separate the placenta from her to me.
She blessed me. She rocked me. She faced me.
She smiled her eyes into my new eyes. She sang
to me in her mother tongue. She filled me. I was
like a tiny bug cradled in the earth’s mossy hands.
I was happy. I was loved.