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Claudia Ann Seaman Award






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CAS for Database

Natasha Bredle

Cincinnati, OH, USA

Turpin High School


I wanted to write a lie, but instead came home with a fever and garish dreams.

Monsters are real in this sense: I don’t want to return to where I was

and if I could erase the memory, I would roll that year on the five factions

of my tongue and taste each cutting vapor before swallowing it. Whole.

But even then, I would still be lying if I filled the empty space

with life that didn’t happen. The word for it is lucid, the dreams

which send my eyes bucking as familiar faces splice a hazy sky.

When I wake up to emptiness on all sides, they are the ghosts

that inhabit the void. I am the echo trying to fill them. But when time

lapses into a corrugated membrane, I stand still and affiliate with statues.

Snow falls and melts on my skin, and this is my one solace, the reassurance

that I am not yet stone. I still have this fickle window of metamorphosis

gazing over me, opening and closing like a mouth to the sky, to unknown,

or my hope of heaven. I wanted to write a lie. I wanted my tongue

to be aflame, I wanted my lips to know all shades of red and golden honey.

I wanted my feet to leave deep dredges in the ground where I walked,

I wanted to be my own foundation. I wanted to erase and fabricate.

I wanted to skip over what was and leave a blip in the timeline.

But my fingers don’t move in this fashion. It is deeper than the membrane

of my body; it is like a primal sense I have created after folds and folds

of surviving. I dream and I wish, but lying is beyond me. So long

as this guttural scream inside persists, I will bow to it: my testimony.


“Testimony” examines the body as a confessional. Through imagery of eyes and tongue, skin and membrane, existence and erasure, it paints a portrait of disclosure that is both surreal and intimate, relatable and radically, profoundly abstract.

Natasha Bredle is a young writer based in Ohio. Her work has been featured in publications such as Peach Mag, Words and Whispers, and The Lumiere Review. She has received accolades from the Bennington College Young Writers Awards as well the Adroit Prizes. In addition to poetry and short fiction, she has a passion for longer works and is currently drafting a young adult novel.


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