Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023: Her Statue (I’m starting to hate my sister)

I spent years pressing the cold, wet, dirt into something lovable.
Does her flesh show approval?
I sculpted it that way.
Those curls defy gravity,
the stone is soft and bouncy on her head.
She is radiant,
like a sunbeam caught in stained glass.
She is stuck in a chapel window,
undecidedly holy.
She looks just like her statue.

She looks closer at the clay,
I must have made a mistake;
I hope she can forgive me.
She is as generous as solaris,
she is as grateful as me.
“Thank you,” thank you!
She is good,
the protagonist, incapable of error.
She looks just like her statue.

We leave the garden together,
the hero and her sidekick,
when I return
she is broken on the ground
in a pile of dust and shards.
The sculptor and her statue.

I found dust in her hair.
She says she’s sorry.
She says her statue was perfect,
like a pond without wind
and a mother without children—
she is wicked.
Like a witch, like a monster,
like a mother.
Not like our mother.
She looks nothing like her statue.
Her thank yous lack the sincerity of
the clay stuck under my fingernails,
her sorrys are drowned out by
the dust in my ears.

Now I should try to scrape myself immaculate,
but skin and bones aren’t so malleable;
if I cover myself in clay,
can I be a statue too?

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Lillian Healy

I am currently a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where I'm studying astronomy and physics. Although I love science and math, writing and drawing have always been passions of mine. I've published a couple poems in small magazines and I'm hoping to broaden my world through creative writing, as well as help with my tuition.

A special thank you to our WordView 2023 poets.

Here's what our PAN Wordview 2023 judges have to say about this year's competition. Robert Seatter, says "ever a joy and a privilege to co-judge the Poetry Archive Now annual competition, tapping into a pulse of thought and feeling from around the globe, condensed into intensely crafted poems. The entries came from all continents, covered myriad themes, spoke in different voices, but all shared a fundamental belief in the power of poetry to speak from the soul."

Courtney Conrad says "the poets who participated in this competition reminded us that poetry is a tool for change, a medium for reflection, and a source of inspiration. These poets have left an indelible mark on me and the world, and I can't wait to see how their words continue to shape our collective consciousness in the future."

Merrie Joy Williams says "The Poetry Archive is such an indispensable resource - the idea that a poem read in a poet’s own voice can outlast those seemingly endless moments tinkering until a poem feels right, or at least robust enough to convey a memory or insight - so exploring these entries was a privilege and joy. Selecting a final twenty was tortuous. So many captured the spirit of these times, when so many things are at risk of erosion or at a critical juncture: the environment, the misuse of AI, truthfulness, the modus operandi of those who run our countries, and issues of social justice and humanity. Others captured personal moments of reckoning in bold and intimate and surprising ways. Somehow we’ve managed to narrow them down and here we have, I think, a wide range of voices and approaches, personal and political, national and international, witty and wise, often proving that these dialectic notions are one and the same."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2023 playlist