Scoundrel Time

Winner, Editors’ Choice Award in Poetry: Plasticity

In celebration of Scoundrel Time’s first anniversary, our editorial team is excited to announce the winners of our first annual Editors’ Choice Awards. Elly Bookman’s “Plasticity” is the award-winner in Poetry.

Here is what Poetry Editor Daisy Fried says about “Plasticity”:

Elly Bookman’s “Plasticity” is made of lyric intensity and irony and a sort of sorrowing hope. Does it see a possibility for change, for redemption? Perhaps not–it’s a clear-sighted poem–but in diagnosing the current state of things, it tells us a whole lot about what it could mean to be human. 



Of course we might change
the brain, and the President might one
morning wake and learn the world
is huge and heartbroken.
Given practice, new neurons might meet
and send enough signals back and forth
and he’d see with his tongue,
map his bedroom
with taste. And wouldn’t
that be something? The sour shape
of a bureau, of a quilt folded
at the foot of the bed
assembling like pointillism in
the night canvas of the blind man’s
mind. That he might
find his way to the closet
and get dressed, still in darkness,
his ties singing out their colors
for him to choose from, that
he’d remember what blue
is, and that he’d be able after
some time to discover
the doorknob, to make his way
into the hall, the carpet still
rich under his feet
until onward into other rooms, homes
he might venture and see it all
anew. The volcanoes and
clouds, the highways, a man hidden
in plain sight amidst enemies.
He would have to dream, imagine it
all, over and over. It would
take a thousand years.


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