Lit/South Awards 2022 Poetry Competition – Third Place
Find a Friend
It’s like the sharpened stone flung
from David’s sling
striking Goliath’s head, this map
on my phone, his glowing dot
not at the office, or the hospital
where he sees patients, not
the grocery store he frequents
for our family’s provisions. The dot
marks the spot with his name
but an address not shared
by any mutual friend, or known
place of business, burns
the insistent red of a target’s
bright eye, or the blood
pumping through the heart. I
can’t help but hold my breath,
releasing the taut string
of the mind’s bow, launching
my inquisitive arrow at that tiny circle,
which is not unlike the bullseye
I have imagined at the heart
of his heart, where I’ve loosed
my ersatz arrows for years, always
lodging them in the distant rings.
It could have been a feather, this
singular point of pixelated light
bowling me over. But it’s a rock.
Sharp. To the softest part of my head.
Poetry judges Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs write: This poem of romantic betrayal is marked by both its deep vulnerability and masterful restraint. “The sharpened stone flung / from David’s sling” in the opening stanza stays suspended for twelve painful couplets—couplets in which we see the unraveling of this couple through the speaker’s realization of their partner’s unfaithfulness—before the rock finally finds, in the closing stanza, its target in the “softest part” of the speaker’s head, as well as in the heart of the reader who has been drawn in to experience this pain along with them.