The Readers Advisory committee is pleased to announce that Lisa Allen has won our Ain't It the Truth writing contest in the open category for her poem "Adoration." With precise yet smoldering language, Allen's narrator carefully unravels the "secret histories" of the women who raised her--what remains hidden beneath the facades they were forced to adopt to survive.
Allen's choice of perspective allows readers to put themselves in the narrator's shoes and imagine the inner-workings of the matriarchs in their own lives. "Adoration"'s truth doesn't come from absolute fact as much as lived experience--the truth of one's own experiences retrofitted to better understand the things we never were able to know.
Lisa holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College, where she was awarded a Michael Steinberg Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction. She is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate in Poetry, also at Solstice, and works as a freelance writer and developmental editor.
I want to write secret histories for
the matriarchs who raised me.
The woman known only as daughter, sister, aunt.
Two, spinsters, in one shared home.
One, an abandoned wife, mother of five, left to live alone.
The stories I long to tell:
I remember them sexless—
devoted, faithful, full of Hail Marys and Glory
Bes. I remember them warm—
still feel their fleshy arms, the squish of their middles
as they pulled me in, whispered:
Oh haztya and My sweet dolly
Then—when I was five, ten, even fifteen,
I couldn’t imagine them as women,
awake with desire and desperate for touch.
Now—let’s not mention an age, ok?
Let’s just say now I’m old enough to know
something smoldered beneath—
woman enough to know
the unspoken isn’t silent—
alone enough to know a flame unwatched
I want to make magic with my pen:
turn devotion into dancing, solitude into
and watch them live, happy and alive
adored by people
other than me.