Marcus Jamison
AWP Intro Award Winner, poetry


When he was alive my father had a running joke.
I don’t have any money but you can always get some food
The smallest pots simmered in the kitchen–
neck bones and rice, some cabbage on the side.

He cooked with an economy of need, carried over
from when my mother grew tired and packed her things.

Lately, his memory fills me, an empty belly receiving a warm meal.
But six years ago, death cleaned his plate and left me wanting more.

In the kitchen, I mimic his ways: a few small pots, a solitary
plate. But I am quick to offer a meal if needed.

I think of my mother now, picture her craving,
her brain seasoned by dementia’s forgotten flavors.

my father, going then coming, like a sudden scent,
like a hard taste stuck to her tongue


Marcus Jamison is a rising senior at Old Dominion University majoring in English, with a concentration in creative writing. He is a 2016 recipient of the University & College Poetry Prize, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Upon graduation, Marcus plans to enroll in an MFA program. He hopes to continue to refine his craft in poetry and fiction, as well as seek publication in journals and literary magazines. He was born in Hamlet, North Carolina, but considers the Washington, D.C. area to be his home.