Congratulations to MF Slattery, first place winner in the Rhyming Poetry category of the 90th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Here’s the winning poem, “She Lives in Underbridge World”

Congratulations to MF Slattery, first place winner in the Rhyming Poetry category of the 90th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Here’s the winning poem, “She Lives in Underbridge World”

[See the complete winner’s list]

She Lives in Underbridge World

mama wallows in the squalor
can’t she hear her poor child holler?

she lives in underbridge world
I’ve been told I can find her there and I am searching for her in unlit encampments inhabited by
those dimming souls who move but are never moved really

she lives in underbridge world
where searching eyes cannot see her sleeping on unforgiving gravel eating scraps tossed out by
wasters from wasteland who want for nothing but still want everything

she lives in underbridge world
where others like her hide even from each other as they survive on wasteland trash and know all
too well that the good stuff is rare and rarely ever free

she lives in underbridge world
where she is midwife to smudge-face teenagers pregnant and shivering in the dark in the big dark
of the underbelly where those laid to waste go to hide from upperworld ways and means

she lives in underbridge world
and births blue babies who never cry who never try to breathe inhumane air beneath overpasses
of roadways full of huge trucks overstuffed with everything anyone could ever want or need

mama wallows in the squalor
can’t she hear her poor child holler?

she lives in underbridge world
where living is dying and dying is something she knows much about since she’s seen much of it
in her fetid cemetery nursery of refuse and debris

she lives in underbridge world
and crawls into lightless corners low where no one can see her crying as she buries babies born
dead in beds of garbage from gardens of wasteland or on rotting heaps

she lives in underbridge world
I’ve been told she might not want to see me nor hear the news I might bring from the world she
left me in when I was an innocent child just able to rise from my knees

she lives in underbridge world
and she might not see me but she has not forgotten her orphan and the choice she made that led
her down desperate streets where she wastes away with some strange disease

she lives in underbridge world
and if I find her I will know her by her voice and eyes which are all of her I can recall and I
wonder if she’ll know me by my eyes or my voice as I scream “come home Mother please”

mama wallows in the squalor
can’t she hear her poor child holler?

Get recognized for your writing. Find out more about the Writer’s Digest family of writing competitions.

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