Ain't It the Truth Writing Contest Winner

Lisa Allen
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jan 11, 2018

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 butcher
The housekeeper
​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.
Sisters, three.

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
​still burns.

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. 

Reviewed by Helen H.
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