1st Place Poetry Winner: Outsider - Allie Dixon

My mother chopped off a snake’s head in the garage,

a shovel her guillotine and with force a meaty slice sever and

clang.

She wiped her brow with the back of her hand free of snuff,

admired her kill, placid,

lime yellow guts chunked

like cottage cheese across cement.

It’s only us in the house.

I look at her, weapon in hand like a warrior,

strong but frenzied,

and I say this –

Ma, his eyes are still open.

She pulls a plastic trash bag from the scroll in the yellow box

on the steps behind her,

one hand,

and thrashes it open enough,

squats,

scoops her kill

smearing scraps

removing remnants,

no mercy,

and says –

Don’t ever make a mess if you can’t clean it up.

It’s just us in the house.

The snake should’ve stayed outside.

My mother chopped off a snake’s head in the garage,

a shovel guillotine and with force a meaty slice sever and

clang.

Allie Dixon is a writer with an MFA from Lesley University whose work deals mainly with systemic sexism and life's uncanny, unexplainable moments. Her work has been honored by Ploughshares and printed in SLAB Literary, PRISM International, and You Might Need to Hear This. Currently, she is living just outside of Boston finishing her memoir and freelance writing.

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