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Read "Polygamy," Connie Wanek's 2010 mnLIT grand prize-winning poem for this year's competition, originally selected by juror Sunshine Glenstone. Stay tuned: A newly commissioned poem by Wanek will be published on mnartists.org next month.
By Connie Wanek
November 17, 2010
2010 What Light grand prize winner, Connie Wanek

Photo courtesy of the author

mnLIT: What Light Poetry Project and the miniStories flash fiction competition

mnartists.org's annual competitive showcase of Minnesota poets and writers

Polygamy 

 

Some men don't hate marriage,

or slavery for that matter.

Nor can they ever own enough land.

 

When I was a girl back on the farm

I surprised a wild tomcat in the hayloft.

He was eating a kitten,

 

its eyes still shut tight

like apple buds.  The shutter clicked

as he looked at me, his expression fixed.

 

I still think he knew what he was doing, 

though not why,

which makes him almost human,

 

or makes us almost feline.

I could hear the other kittens 

mewing softly 

 

somewhere in the hay, 

deep in the hidden nest

established by our barn cat

 

when she felt them coming.

How many did he take, I wondered,

and how can I punish him?

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About her piece, juror Sunshine Glenstone writes: "The 'cruelty,' or predatory aspect of nature, the interplay of human and animal motivations and desires, the determined character of the young female narrator, combine to give the reader a glimpse into what may be a first attempt by the speaker to set things right in the world of animal relationships.  The evocative poem ends with a question hinting at the speaker's realization that the matter before her is full of unknowns and impossibilities. All of this is achieved with debatable declarations about men, a philosophical statement, and a rather unforgettable image of a kitten."

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About the poet: Connie Wanek lives in Duluth, Minnesota.  Her latest book, released in January, 2010, is On Speaking Terms from Copper Canyon Press.  She was named a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress by US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser. 

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Membership on mnartists.org is FREE. Find step-by-step instructions for how to join and how to use the free resources available on the site. If you need assistance, contact Jehra Patrick at [email protected]. Any Minnesota resident is eligible to participate in mnartists.org's mnLIT competitions for poetry and fiction; there are no entry fees, and writers at all levels of skill and experience are welcome to enter work for consideration by a revolving panel of established authors and publishing professionals in mnLIT's blind adjudication process.

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