We were born

Eleanor Stanford Wins a 2023 Zócalo Poetry Prize Honorable Mention Award

Eleanor Stanford (pictured) wins a 2023 Zócalo Poetry Prize honorable mention award for "We were born." Courtesy of Eleanor Stanford.

Every year, we award the annual Zócalo Poetry Prize to the poem that best evokes a connection to place. Zócalo is pleased to recognize four honorable mention submissions this year, which we will publish over four Fridays in celebration of U.S. National Poetry Month.



For Ezra

We were born
on the same day.
Under a full moon,
in a cold snap.
Through a series
of continental collisions
at the headwaters
of the Rivanna River.
The doctor said
get out of the bathtub.
We were born in a bed
with stirrups. In a room
with bright lights. We were born
before we knew better.
The doctor said push.
We were born: passengers
on a boat, brimming
glasses on a tray, sweet and sour
spheres on a passionflower vine.
We were born under the same
sign. Mirror-dark, thrown back
by a body or a surface
of light. The doctor said do you want
this baby to be born today
or tomorrow. We said
today. We were born
at the same minute:
11:55 pm, in a city
entirely independent of any
county, in the autonomous region
east of the oldest mountains
in the world.

Eleanor Stanford is the author of three books of poetry, all from Carnegie Mellon Press. She has been a Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Verde and a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil, and currently lives in the Philadelphia area.
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