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Writer's Digest 91st Annual Competition Non-Rhyming Poetry First Place Winner: "Music We Make in the Basement"

Congratulations to Alison Luterman, first-place winner in the Non-Rhyming Poetry category of the 91st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning story, "Music We Make in the Basement."

Congratulations to Alison Luterman, first-place winner in the Non-Rhyming Poetry category of the 91st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. Here's her winning story, "Music We Make in the Basement."

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[See the complete winner's list]

Music We Make in the Basement

You ask if I can just sing the four-note bass line,
over and over, and I do, I’m proud
of how low and dark I can go these days,
while the sunlit piano part
you recorded earlier skips and twirls around itself
like a little girl in a new dress.
And then I hear you, softly at first,
singing high above me in fluted falsetto,
and it thrills me because we always laugh
about your five-note range, but this
is a celestial surprise you’ve pulled out of the ether!
I keep up the low thrum, as instructed,
perhaps I have become an insect,
a beetle or a grasshopper,
or maybe I’m making the sound trees make
in the privacy of the forest,
their deep wooden mating calls.
When we were younger we tried and failed
to sing together, but here we are, years later:
I’ve learned how to anchor myself
to the tune, you to let go and soar,
an intimate reversal. How can I explain
what kind of love-making this is?
Back in the day my friends and I
would joke that a deep resonant bass
could shiver our lady parts—
Barry White! we’d moan,
giggling, and mock-fainting—and it’s true
I’d feel that gentle growl
vibrate my own pelvic bowl,
but tonight your clear soprano notes
are what’s doing it to me baby, so go ahead,
you be the high-flyer, I’ll hold down the root
just like this for as long as you want. 

Writer's Digest 91st Annual Competition Non-Rhyming Poetry First Place Winner: "Music We Make in the Basement"
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