Winner Heart Award 2022

$500 & Publication HEART 17
Mark MacAllister 
of Pittsboro, NC
Mark MacAllister of Pittsboro, NC
Safe In The Backcountry

Your friends ask if you are nervous
traveling the backcountry
what with the animals
the bears! feral dogs!
uncertain footing   steep drop-offs
the meth cookers and mushroom poachers

you tell them that you are never safer
than when you stop on an unmarked road
to eat your sandwich and Oreos
in the tailgate shade

and about the miraculous hot shower
in a jungle camp on the border
between Uganda and Rwanda
how on the way back to your tent
you weaved a flashlit route
	between sleeping hippos

how perhaps like Antaeus you grow stronger
every time you sleep on the ground
so far from the people you know

how those you have already lost
the ones you expect to lose soon
those you yourself will be lost to
how for that night at least
they are all the same safe distance away

From 1988 to 2022, Nostalgia Press has paid $15,525 in cash awards to writers