First Kiss

by Chris Bottomley

3rd Place

2020 Ember Chasm Review Poetry Contest

This will be my hospital year, though nothing
Will change except the name on my bus stop.
The difference between hostility and hospitality
Is the width of a bathtub, but nothing today is
Purely one thing. This will be a kiss behind the
Dugout, river kiss, the mouth on the mouth of a
River. The opposite of scream is not whisper,
It’s swallow.

Accept the name on the bus stop: need is the
Only universal constant. Is the orchard and the
Tree. Is the leaf and the lobe. Is the branch and
The fruit. Is the flesh and the stone. Is the press
And the piston. Is the liquor, the pumice, and the

Chris Bottomley is a writer and teacher from New York. He is thankful for his family, the Hudson River, and the mentors he has had at Bread Loaf and Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Check out our interview with Chris Bottomley here.