TECH EFFECT Fourth Place: “If She Had Known” by Michele Parker Randall
BackUp by Ellen de Meijer

If She Had Known

that in fourteen years you’ll surprise her with coq au vin
when she arrives home, tired from work—you’ll eat, open up

a bottle of wine, and offer, like desert, I’m done, garnished
with your plans to divide the proceeds from the house and tell

the children. You’ll confess there’s no one else before she asks;
she understands now the humming, the new clothes, the to-do

list done. Still in her suit, jacket unbuttoned, she remembers
an ask—let’s have another—and her secret appointment, a pause

button pushed permanently without your knowledge. Would she
still pin the veil in her hair? Take a stand with you on the beach?

What Contest Judge Stephen Gibson says: “This is a simmering yet understated piece of telling of emotional wounding in five free-verse controlled couplets. A very fine work.”

Michele Parker Randall is the author of Museum of Everyday Life (Kelsay Books 2015). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Green Mountains Review, and elsewhere and has been a finalist for multiple poetry prizes, including the Peter Meinke Poetry Prize and the Split this Rock Poetry of Provocation and Witness Contest.