Fire Ants

Fatma Omar Wins a 2024 Zócalo Poetry Prize Honorable Mention Award

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 for 2024.


The turmeric colored wall suffers
Sand streaks from a harsh wind
That whipped minuscule pebbles
At little red ants crawling on its side.

One bright one with a bulb on its
Back inched towards my arm.
The bite shot a stinging heat
Up my arm. Inside, grandma

Smiled knowingly at my pain
Stricken face. A sugar salve and …

Melanie Almeder Wins the 2024 Zócalo Poetry Prize

‘Coyote Hour’ Tracks a Summer in Southern Maine

Melanie Almeder is the winner of the 2024 Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize for “Coyote Hour.” The poem tracks the rhythms of summer in a part of coastal New England …

from Decorporeal


After many hours on the road:
   Indiana and the Hell
is real billboard. I stopped
   in Bloomington
needing food. The sky
   so blue Yves Klein
could have painted it.
   I …

We Shall Rest


The elm split by lightening stands
above the bench where my father sat
the summer he could no longer breathe
enough to walk to the Avalon
without stopping. I sat …

Wool Washing


I like to wash wool blankets
in a rubber tub, stomping
as if I live on a vineyard,
the detritus of a year
squelching and puffing
between my feet. I …

To Paint Persimmons


a crow pits his beak against the fruit, the push
   and pull of intimacy an ease, a vulnerability.
   How lovely to pit our mouths
    against each other. …