Runner-up, 2016 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition “To be an antediluvian is an extremely proud and pleasant thing.” —Charles Dickens More than a thousand years ago when I was young and silly, I believed in sugar Valentines and ribbon flowers pinned in places of the heart. A thousand years ago when I was wild and crazy-eyed I wanted a world of thin white curtains blowing in warm breezes from wide sandy beaches. A thousand or so years ago I loaded my arms and cracked my back with pages in every word of the world’s ways until I knew everything and nothing. Nothing at all. Still I was happy. A thousand million billion years ago I wore hats of every shape and color and purses that matched my skirts and jackets. I marched with the merry go round crowds at the fair. O, several million years ago I loaded my days with paper and coins traded towns and lives for those in chairs below. A thousand shoes ago I ran with life, tripping and falling, rising only to run footpaths in flats and heels, leather and plastic, city streets. I had long legs, tough heels, sweet toes and loved the race. Loved the air. Loved. Loved. Loved. I was fleet of feet. Now I am barefoot in this afterlife, limping and leaping, over tender stones upturned and mossy.

RUTH MOOSE teaches creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is the author of two collections of short stories and the mystery novel, Doing It at the Dixie Dew. She is also the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Making the Bed and Smith Grove. Her stories have appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Redbook, and Ladies Home Journal, as well as in many university and college publications. She has received the Robert Ruark Foundation prize, three PEN Syndicated Awards for short story, a NC Literary Fellowship, and a MacDowell Fellowship.