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The Audubon Prize:

Ann Herlong Bodman "If we Really Cared"

Honorable Mentions:


If we really cared

about the monarch,

we could begin

with embryos

traveling on the wind

dodging cars,

yellow school busses

and the new gas station

on the corner—


milkweed embryos cradled

in flossy tidbits of filament—seed

wrapped in fluffy white fiber

soaring across parking lots,

bridges, shopping malls,

airport runways

and sport stadiums large

as cities themselves—


milkweed seed searching

for a roadside habitat,

asclepepeas tuberssa

seeking soil, blessed soil,

fertile or not, any soil will do

in a world of concrete.


Rivers and rivers of concrete.


We can’t say we didn’t

know. We can’t say we didn’t

care. We don’t think about it

like it’s worth a poem.


Rivers and rivers of concrete.

Judge’s Comment:

The winner of The Audubon Prize is "If we really cared", for its particularity in diction and the way its language draws attention to the monarch butterfly and the world we build around it, "We can't say we didn't / know"

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