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Pushcart Nominees


It may be husbands
who love
their wives best
talk about their wives
near the ears of other men least.
When the drawbridge
of the male tongue lowers
with selected confidences—
your reticence
makes a kind of poetry.
on the train to Scotland,
a young traveler so alone you lacked
even solitude,
you saw an unfenced field go by.
A sunlit breeze galloped
through tall grass
to a blue, scalloped sea—
a patient prayer
for your future life.
These days, in a crowded bar
if the talk veers to wives,
you choose not to skate
upon the pond frozen
above what is deepest down.
you stand in the crowd
in silence
and wade the tall grass
of a sunlit field
where you and your wife can’t be found.


                                        Mike Dillon

                                        Indianola, Washington


She could not fall asleep
thanks to all the coughing
coming through the walls.
The man with the fedora
each night became
the man with the cough
who kept his neighbors
awake, wondering how much
longer until the siren of police
or just ambulance, until
the questions, the accusatory
questions: You never asked him
what was wrong? You just said
Good morning? Every morning?
She could not fall asleep
because he could not
stay asleep, because
dying makes a lot of noise,
noise she decided to pretend
she did not hear. Because
the time her dog ran
into the street, that man
ran out and got it back.
And because his smile
each and every morning
seemed to her to say thank you
for letting him spend those days
acting healthy, not just speaking Death.


                                        A. Dearborn Goldsmith

                               San Francisco, California

Each year the CQ editors nominate especially fine poems

from our published CQ issues for the Pushcart Prize.

Congratulations to our 2016 Pushcart nominees:


Outsider Among Nuns by Carrie Johnson

                    from CQ Vol. 41, No. 4

Because by Craig Cotter

                    from CQ Vol. 42, No. 1

Avila Beach, 1911 by Russell Bunge

                    from CQ Vol. 42, No. 2

Voices We Might Hear by Marilyn Robertson

                    from CQ Vol. 42, No. 2

The Wind Up Russian Gulch by Jeff Ewing

                    from CQ Vol. 42, No. 3

Rain by Rosemary Ybarra-Garcia

                    from CQ Vol. 42, No. 4


We present the six poems in the pages below.


They are what I want to be, made of steel simplicity,
and knowing that I won’t be, let me tag along, anyway,
a refugee from the outer place they also flee.
With eager gratitude, I weed the chapel garden,

and go boldly into dark woods, to clean the graves.

Rain fell through a mesh of tree boughs,
tapped-tapped here and there on fallen leaves,
and former fallen leaves, mulching it all
into the sweet fragrance of decay.
I did not pray for the dead sisters who,
bedded down side by side in silent absorption,
all appetites surrendered to perpetuity,

wanted for nothing from those above ground and hungry.

One late night in Rome, I found churches everywhere
with doors and depths open to the street. Inside each,
against the wall, a crowded stadium of candle flames
lent room, always, for another. And I, a foreigner alone

in dark hours, seated my prayer among them, and let it blaze.

So it was, when the nuns in denim habits
showed up where the graves and I were, with potato chips,
Lays hosts for all, a welcome dry wafer on the tongue in rain,
but better yet, communion
in that rapture of a salty crisp crush in the mouth

it’s just human to love.

                               Carrie Johnson

                   San Diego, California


In tribute to "Breakfast" by Diane Wakoski

We were driving

unpopulated New Mexico

no people that is

going north

or some other direction

summer, blue sky

your poetry

                        taking us

when "Because" came on

from Abbey Road.

We were driving west

or some other direction

their voices tiled

New Mexico.

You sat beside me

as my CRX flew east

or some other direction

more perfect

than nipping basil

on the poached egg

because we weren't alone.

                                        Craig Cotter

                                        Pasadena, California

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