Writing for a prize (Gretchen Filart)

For the hundredth time, I am writing about my stepdad.

A 2000-word essay writing contest,

a cash prize worth half our mortgage. 

In me, yearnings crave a nod.

Like telling those native English speakers who demanded “Get me somebody who can speak English!”, 

back when I was still ‘Helena’ in ‘06,

I am the goddess of language in this house. 

Show the loves I lost that there are still things I win at. 

Tell my stepdad that there is enough bittersweetness in 30 years to cover in 2,000 words. 

Describe his light until the earth’s bowl brims 

with my words that they reach the sky. 

Prove that my eight-year old grief is ripe for a prize. 

I want him to shake my hand 

and say, You win, alright. 

Your words reached me. 


Gretchen Filart writes from the Philippines. She loves split-second infinities, oversharing, and storytelling, and doesn’t take life too seriously. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Rappler, The Philippine Star, Philippines Free Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Janus Literary, Petrichor Mag, and elsewhere.

Say hi: Instagram: @ourworldinwords_ | Twitter: @gretchenfilart | Website: www.ourworldinwords.com


image: Amateur photographer and author Andrea Damic(Sydney, Australia) has words published or forthcoming in 50-Word Stories, Paragraph Planet, The Dribble Drabble Review, 50 Give or Take (Vine Leaves Press) Anthology, Spillwords, The Centifictionist, The Piker Press and elsewhere with her art featuring or forthcoming in Rejection Letters, Door Is A Jar, Fusion Art’s Exhibitions, Welter at the University of Baltimore and elsewhere. You can find her on TW @DamicAndrea or linktr.ee/damicandrea.