2019 Bermuda Triangle Prize Winners

Ashley Robles

Riding Out The Storm

I gathered the books
I put out my flames
Packed by moonlight
And watched horses run the fields
The stables were too warm 
Desert night
Damp with oncoming storm

My pages are soggy
From past rain
In a sorry little duffle that always smells of grass
And melted cough drops
Illness has fused with its very being
I feel my lungs struggle
Packing peanuts in paper bags
Crinkling cereal hitting cool white

I got a brain freeze
Have to suck hot syrup in
A tornado
In my throat
Ribs click in warning
Upset nerves
These fallen power lines
Mixing signals

I’m losing reception
And they don’t even know where I am
The power reserves were empty all along
And I’m in the bag again

I sleep a few days in mildew
And remember why
I’m chasing fire

Slumbering Embers

The green flames roared
A shrill telephone ring
I couldn’t put back
On the hook

Burning through the stacks I had spent
The last three weeks sorting
Pieces soaring off in bright flakes
Like punched holes

Leftover crafts are so easily scrapped
In snowfalls

The embers had been festering
In the wallpaper
And I had clogged every pore
With memory

This asbestos winter

Choking down disposal
Like an overfilled sink
Fading into the light
Then the forever darkness


Nils Nelson

Nerves Catch Fire

The neuro provider says tinnitus,
a high-pitched throb in my ear,
Big Ben through a stack of Marshalls.

No cure—
my spirit’s fed up, can’t take it anymore.

He siphoned off my last pint,
flew up to build a nest in the screwbean mesquite,
the bags under my eyes filling with feathers.

I placed an ad and answered.

My new job?
All day at the window, waving away replacements
before they hit the glass Look out! Look out!

Too much standing, my poached feet won’t deflate.

I can’t sit, my nerves catch fire—
charred music
means no sweet grease to pack my bearings.

I’ll have to crawl,
Pacifica Pain Clinic, again.

Doc Shiller takes me in,
hangs me up
in front of the Wong-Baker Chart: Faces of Pain.

I don’t recognize
the pie-faced idiot smiling No Hurt,
but the poor soul called Hurts the Worst, well…

Doc, maybe something time-release,
in blister-pack, analgesia just in case.

Or a magical sub-lingual, quick absorption by
way of the salivary glands,
bypassing hostile degradation in the GI tract.

From a chemical can, a chemical man.
Rain hits the window, hard mineral rain scoring
the glass, strange language.

Spirit, come down. I’ll salt the bread.


R.J. Keeler

A Sea of Boxes

Along the shore weave and bob—
tilt, flash—a twisting grayness,
a just-massed, fog-like bank. Grab
those few bobbing at water’s edge,

open one or two, or all—see?
Each box is empty; it gapes like an
angry viper’s mouth—just vacant!
What’s missing inside that flotilla

of cardboard cartons? Could an empty
box, in contradiction, conceal our knacks?
So scratch answers on snake hides, contrive,
suffice them into that sullen naval fleet.

Impart to mind worn-out travails;
pick wispy purple excesses—any
ghost of night sweats, minor love’s
abundances. Pack them intact into a

quaint tiny box afloat along an occluded
transit of Jupiter. Thus do we, dry land
sailors, rearrange, repot a pecked life.
Upon that very instant, those bobbing

boxes offer deep crevasses, model us
a watery fleet of flying lanterns, gift us
vehicles for our letting go’s. Excepting
an unconsciousness, how else to dispel?

Spend two nights in Marrakesh,
suddenly you think you know it well.