2020 Winner, Alicia Sometimes

We are pleased to announce Alicia Sometimes as the 2020 Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize winner with her poem 'Life Cycles of our Trash and Treasure Market'.

Life Cycles of our Trash and Treasure Market

by Alicia Sometimes

One Sunday—the morning light framed J.H. Lynch’s
painting Woodland Goddess as if the sun was arching

long-boned to outline the curve of the tree. Mood in
Giclée print. You picked the picture up—held it firmly

in one hand, scuffling for the cash before you’d even
asked the price. You told me there was a plinth at home

just for this. The turquoise biscuit tins smelling of vanilla.
Hyphens of cinnamon baked goods with the hint of chalk

(One person's kitsch is another person’s dainty Pomeranian
bracelet). Laid out on blankets: miniature cars, pocket chess

boards, strawberry-patch quilts, rusted old irons, aerial
photographs and postcards with unknown stern faces

You took to each lane of the market as if it were a maze
always seventeen steps ahead and a keen eye—you could

spot Giovanni Bragolin’s The Crying Boy from a mile away.
My maroon parasol for shade but mostly so you could locate

me. This Drive-in bazaar with sheer crockery that would
be delightful at any Jay Gatsby cocktail party. Burnished

tea pots we’d never use again. You knew how to scalpel
through a box, a surgeon cut to get in and out so no-one

would notice. I would fumble with newsprint, magazines
from the 60s to use for collage and bruise my way through

the crowds building up after breakfast. That day I see clearly—
I had found the grenadine cardigan to go with the sleeveless

dress. You were clasping a copy of New Scientist as you paused
running your fingers along a cedar bench. Your eyes were murals

reflecting the kids on the slides and swings in front of you. But
I knew. I could see you had found something you would love

and take home. Your body stiffened, your arm stretching for
the handshake, the nod for me to come over quickly to share

the glee. This here, with your unfussed hair and giddy smile
the exact moment I knew my weekends would be second-hand