Two MS Poems Pushcart Prize Nominees

POEMS The Pushcart Prize

is an American literary prize that honors the best short fiction, poetry, and essays published in small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to nominate up to six works they have featured. Anthologies in the various genres of the winning works have been published annually since 1976.

Pushcart Prize 2009 Cover

Big Table Publishing has nominated my chapbook, Survivors in the Garden, for a Pushcart Prize.

Also, the following two poems, “Radio Interview” and “In Every Life, Both,” were nominated for Pushcart Prizes; they appear in my book, Survivors in the Garden.

Radio Interview

Her missionary voice beams from some NPR studio across inaccessible stars and blue-black space while I drive on in the coming dark, anxious to arrive home before my vision fades, before my leg brace constricts my calf, before spasms.  She crows—I have no MS symptoms and haven’t for ten years—and credits rest, healthy meals, acupuncture, and reflexology for her symptom-free life.  Why, she feels protected from that evil, eating fruit and whole grains and resting with her feet up on a cushion (Sometimes she just HAS to stop and rest), while I grimace and regret the ice cream, rue the wine, lament those missed naps.  No daily or weekly shots for her; steroids are hideous and the hope of stem cells?  (Stem cells—uttered like a loathsome curse.)  Well, she hopes research halts before any more innocent lives are taken in the name of science.  I envision her heeled shoes winking as her rose-tipped toes slip in before she launches back home to ride Byron, her show horse.  (Riding fights fatigue and stress.)  Then I am yelling at the radio, pounding the steering wheel at that nail-driven-home voice so much like the roaring page, the bastard blues—I want to propel Byron through an unlatched gate, his tail a free flag in the wind, push that smiling voice down a flight of stone steps until those fancy shoes fly, and punch my hand through her smug assumption that she knows exactly how to manage MS, never acknowledging that my MS might be a different animal all together.  Lights on our cedar trees appear and disappear in the growing wind. I turn onto our gravel driveway, silence the car, clamber awkwardly out, stand supported by my quad cane and leg brace, and admit that I so desperately want, oh how I want, oh, oh, with my heart in my mouth, oh, how I want to be her.

© Marie Kane

Nominated by Wordgathering. Poem published in their Inglis House anthology,  Their Buoyant Bodies Respond, 2009.

In Every Life, Both
for Allen Hoey

Moon’s tail of light touches
the still water of the lake
and secluded shore toward
Pegasus and a broad line

of distant trees.  Across
the water, lights of homes
wink on.  A passing boat
sounds its two powers:

presence and sorrow.
In every life, both.
A stripe of cloud forms
under the almost-full moon.

Spectacle Island’s loon nest
cocoons amid dense grass
and weeds; one long call
wavers over darkening water,

while the reply—distant, trailing—
stills the heart.  He says,
Look at those clouds holding
up the moon, that light,

that reflection, the boat breaking
up the lake.
  The boat passes,
and the wavering path of silver
opens, then closes.  Still, there is

no wind.  I take the chance
this offers, absorb the boat’s
caution and the loon’s comfort,
rise from the chair, one hand

clutching my cane, the other the top
railing post, then stand and receive
his offer of brandy, auburn liquid
gleaming in the transfer.

Some of us make our own light,
he says—toasting the still moon
framed by a sky of broken clouds—
here’s to light.

© Marie Kane

Nominated by the Schuylkill Valley Journal, Spring 2011.

Material on this page and on any page in is Copyright © to Marie Kane.  Any use of this material must be acknowledged and approved in writing by Marie Kane.  Email:  engmrk(at)

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