Photo (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by Marco Martinelli.

This from our poetry editor Matthew Landrum.

When I put the first call out for my annual psalm contest, I had no idea the direction it would take, what a wonderful response the prompt would elicit, and how much beauty would be born from the challenge. In the last two years of the contest, we’ve received entries from all over the world, publishing six submissions and nominating two for Pushcart Prizes and one for a Forward Prize.

It’s a testament to the quality of the psalms that we’ve printed more than just the winning entries. One entry this year is from the standpoint of a sharecropper in Mississippi. Another features Walt Whitman. Another has Alcatraz in the backdrop. Out of the thirty entries submitted this year, we’ve chosen three.

Here’s an excerpt from the winning poem, Adie Smith’s ‘A Psalm of Waiting’:

We broke an unblessed communion of body and blood,
bodies breaking against each other.
Our tongue tasting its missing self.
The moon pulled me out on the bed in drops
dark as holes in the white sheet.