First Place | Poetry Writing Contest XLVIII


Hannah Perrin King of Cool, California for "Addendum"

King will receive $1,000, an award plaque to mark the success, and publication both online and in print.

Hannah Perrin King


The December I was ready to die
I took myself home to my parents’ ranch.
I’d meant to say something about

couldn’t & wanted to & needed but
I couldn’t do that either & perhaps
neither could they. So instead,

that December, my parents & I,
in a pulse of blonde hills, fastened
my mother’s iPhone to a fence post

in view of a heifer’s carcass. Johnny’d
shot her, after she’d prolapsed, out of
pity, then left the world of her

splayed above the clay & ice. We set
the camera’s mode to time-lapse & later,
in the kitchen, watched the comings,

goings: foxes, a bobcat, vultures—
& once, a bald eagle easing down
from the blue brutal. For a week,

a soft blur orbited the heifer.
For a week, it offered up
its slack bellies, warding off death

by consuming it. When the heifer left,
she left most of her behind. And so
it goes. About it, I knew then

as much as I do now, which isn’t
a lot, only that instead of going,
I stayed. On its string of starlight,

the moon rose, a stomach of stone.
In the yard, the coyotes yipped
till it sunk. Again, again.


Hannah Perrin King’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, The Adroit Journal, The Missouri Review, North American Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal and Best New Poets, among others. She lives in rural California and is the deputy poetry editor at Alaska Quarterly Review.

Addendum © 2019 Hannah Perrin King
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6 thoughts on “”

  1. This poem is so gorgeous, capturing in the subtle rhythm of its three-line stanzas both the very big and very little difference between staying in and leaving this world, whose natural rhythms include perpetual rising and sinking. Death is warded off by consumption, or “so it goes” and most is left behind anyway. The colloquial phrases stand in contrast to the originality of the imagery: the “pulse of blond hills,” “the blue brutal,” “the stomach of stone,” all pointing to the viscerality of life, the only known. We will use this poem as our template in Monday morning writing group around our kitchen table. Thanks so much, Hannah. Barbara,

  2. This is so great, Hannah. What a poem and what an award! I only wish your Aunt Jenny could have seen what an accomplished poet you are, she would be so immensely proud of her niece.

    Your admiring uncle,


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