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FIRST PLACE NONFICTION IN THE 2016 SUMMER CONTEST

Ghosted Image of a Naked Girl By: Anne Riesenberg

I admire this lyric essay for its seamless ability to move from the past into a latter-day assessment of the past and back again, over and over. Its counterpoint of the traumatic past with the welcome retrospective assures the reader the speaker has survived with intelligence and discernment intact. This is what Phillip Lopate calls the “double-consciousness” that sets the essay apart from fiction. It’s also beautifully written on the language level and tightly focused on the form level. - Debra Monroe

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Summer comes I visit my sister she moved east to live on a commune I fly alone watch fields flicker green under the wings she meets my plane we head north the car smells briny wet like the sea the road up the coast gets smaller then smaller twists past humps of granite stark clapboarded churches tiny cemeteries furry with moss white houses perch darkshuttered in yards strewn with stones water sparkles across fields full of daisies the sky gets bluer the land more and more bare wind tangles our hair I can’t believe how happy I feel We stop at a farmhouse gray with red trim my sister’s boyfriend G and his mother R father Z bring in my suitcase six fifths of gin we bought on the way the house feels lived in layered with activities things in the kitchen a slate sink under a window that looks to the sea through another a barn tattered flag peace sign up near the peak the walls look like a collage Jimi Hendrix posters newspaper clippings tide charts local maps In the living room a fireplace two mustard couches a bookcase crammed full I'm OK You're OK Rodale's Organic Gardening Das Kapital The Joy of Sex in the dining room a mahogany cabinet full of surprisingly delicate teacups two large tapestry portraits one of Lenin the other of Mao I follow my sister upstairs my room has a view of the garden a pond shaped like a comma the field beyond leads to the shore the tide is out mud glistens like chocolate mousse *

Bmr issue 34