This round, we received 231 poems from 95 different poets—nearly 100 more submissions than our last round. Poems by Carla Maj, Skye Haggerty, Tyler Hein, and Inka Kennepohl will appear on Edmonton Transit this spring.

In addition to publishing the winning four poems, we would like to publish and congratulate everyone who made our shortlist. Way to go! A big thanks goes out as well to everyone who submitted.


Poetry Moves on Transit Spring 2020 Winners

by Carla Maj

I remember the mall flamingos
as pale, pink-petalled showgirls fanning their plumage
behind the glass curtain under red-lit heat lamps
dainty, webbed feet scraping imagined mud into nested mounds
on slick, tiled floors, elegant necks craning
toward the fluorescent sun, yearning to glide
over the Santa Maria on broad, unclipped wings,
flapping against extinction while immortalized
in the real world
as faded, plastic lawn statues.

born together
by Skye Haggerty

cognate: a word which is shared between languages,
suggesting a common origin. For example:
star, stern, stēlla, setāre, tara, astēr, astre
These are points on a map which converges
and splits as we move towards and away from each other.
Imagine, we have been creating constellations as long as
there have been stars, making meaning
out of lights in the night sky,
trying to share our story.

Honeybees cuddle so violently they melt enemy wasps
by Tyler Hein

I think about that two times a day, morning and night,
how sharing a love that wreaks havoc could spread
through an entire colony until I was you and you
and you were her and him and we were transcendent.
It’s been said that love loves to love love and
those left at the altar should take solace in being
a footnote in someone else’s fairy tale, but come on.
Even a honeybee must sometimes feel as though
they’re sitting at the bottom of an ocean of air
and they’re drowning.

Grocery Poem
by Inka Kennepohl

My new roommate bought groceries
-and I was overjoyed.

Every crinkling bag
was a question mark
plunked down on the table.
Now I’ve become nosy;
Eavesdropping on boiling pots
Peaking at rising bread
-Watching for signs of friendship
between two secretive aprons, on their hooks.


Poetry Moves on Transit Spring 2020 Shortlist

A Man
by Aaima Azhar

I will teach my son to be a man,

That is to say,

I will teach him to cry often,
To live through his heart,
To love gently, to speak softly,

And to bleed,
Just like everyone else.

cup and cake
by Skye Haggerty

A reasonable amount of cheesecake is two friends sharing
a table, or, six friends smiling over steaming cups
black as a winter night,
spinning sugar into golden, hazy evenings.
When it’s homemade there’s always enough, more
when you pass it around. Each hand lifting a plate
and touching briefly under a shared burden that
lightens each time laughter is whipped up.
It is more than a slice; it is a helping.

by Tyler Hein

My father went north to empty then fill oil pockets
and the city melts a little with each new footprint.
Even Spring in Edmonton lasts less long
than our playoff chances. I guess it’s obvious how
everything expires in land built on crude and snow,
still I can’t shake a confusing, shapeless feeling
the world we were raised to inherit no longer exists.
How much longer will youth still burn my cheeks?
How do I properly mourn a broken promise?

by Hanne Pearce

we are too many, and too few
we are too rich, and too poor
so many separations, so many reasons.
Seven billion strong, our herds now migrate
on aimless curiosity in search of a perfect selfie.
Other species kill only what they eat
pass the land unscathed, and do not separate themselves
by the colour of their coats or
by those who have, and have not.
Our separations, our reasons.

Rainbows (after Ocean Vuong)
by Ojo Taiye

here are my hands— some nights they wake
when touched by music or rather the drops of rain
from my mother’s eyes. i was seven when

i watch the night bleed through my father’s cracked skin
after too many rifle blows. his echo trapped in
’63 & the cell’s too cold night.

sorrow hardening into a boy dancing & he can’t tell
whether the song is for him— or the burning
rooms he mistook for childhood.

Move Me
by Caitlin Opdendries

Before we moved away we felt scraped bark
on broken limbs, silt squishing underfoot as we drifted
lost beneath the weight of heat, aspen sap
perfuming the valley air. The river runs relentless,
no in-and-out, no persistent pulse of tidal sway…
North Saskatchewan will carry what we send away.
Downstream, our wishes in bottles tell your story
travelling on and on and on
speck in the distance, curve on the water: gone

by Elizabeth Spencer

Drape me over the balcony
so I may spar with the wind as I dry
So the weight of the water may stretch me
in all directions.
Gravity heavy like grief on each ankle,
each wrist.
So a strong breeze may come
to carry me away
To unravel my body, free
at last.