TEEN SEQUINS 2018! Day 5, “Antonia” by Morgan Levine, AGE 18

The first half dozen times I read this poem I was mesmerized by Morgan Levine’s diction. Pink bathrobe, plastic flamingos, moonshine. Elvis, Mary, rosemary oil. “I hold my children/close to me like minutes.” Close like words, prayer, a manifestation of love. “I have prayed,/I have produced.” Having read the poem a dozen more times, I am further entranced by the “I” of “Antonia,” a voice reflecting the persistence required to continue living, the voice of someone in love with family and legacy, and the symbol of Mary, both prayer and a “chipped porcelain platter of sky.” -Robert Auld

 

Antonia

for my great-grandmother

 

…Mary’s chief glory is in her nothingness, in the fact of being the “Handmaid of the Lord,” as one who in becoming the Mother of God acted simply in loving submission to His command, in the pure obedience of faith. – Thomas Merton

 

 

 

Amen I have braved another

locust night to stand sentry

in my pink bathrobe among

the plastic flamingos.

I have come for my evening

visit, for my single sip

of moonshine.

 

I hold my Elvis mug

& snip a gardenia

for you.  Cream petals

like pages I turn for you,

Mary, name of my mother,

sweet rosemary oil on my

temples & wrists.  I once

had a name that tangled

on the tongue when spoken

in the Texas heat, sinful

& sweet as a man named

George.  O Mary, he called me

Toney.  & he married me.

 

Claudia & Carol,

David & Daryl,

I have prayed,

I have produced.

 

If a woman is a window

through which immaculate light

can shine, then you, Mary,

are so glorious in your thinness.

I paste your prayer on my bathroom

mirror.  I throw my old name

into the sky like a lost tooth &

I walk in this house

with a hundred clocks

& a dozen calendars

& I hold my children

close to me like minutes.

 

When the clouds allow,

I stand here &

gaze at the moon.

If there are two things

I will give my children,

it is you,

Mary,

prayer I lay over their beds like fine lace,

& you again,

Mary,

chipped porcelain platter of sky.

 

 

Morgan Levine is a multimedia poet currently studying at Columbia University in New York City.  Her works have been published both in print and online, and she is a three-time finalist for Houston Youth Poet Laureate.

 
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Miranda Sun (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Wilmett, IL); Alexis Noga (Denison University, Granville, OH); Jackson Neal (University of Houston, Houston, TX);  Lily Zhou, Enshia Li, Maya Salameh (Stanford University, Stanford, CA); Ben Togut (Columbia Preparatory School, New York, NY); Peyton Toups (Jesuit HS of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA); Andrew Tye (Princeton University, Princeton, NJ); Quinn Lui (University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada); Jessica Meng (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA) Isabel Garcia (Bennington College, Bennington, VT); Zack Tambone (Passaic Valley HS, Little Falls, NJ); Grace Clifford (Columbia University, New York, NY); Katrina Rojas ( UMass Amherst, Amherst, MA); Harper West (Bentonville HS, Bentonville, AR); Tom Bosworth (Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH); Kate I. Foley (Homeschool, Lebanon, PA); CG Aquingel Plabrica (Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion – Mandaue, Cebu, Philippines); Rebecca Northup (University of California, Santa Cruz, CA); Amery Segovia (Alamo Heights HS, San Antonio, TX)

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