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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: Vines Have Thorns
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

And devils have horns, according to the bible.
I push the gas pedal and that's when I hear you.
Like a spark, a click, an immediate transaction.
Force yourself into my ears, into my brain,
You intoxicate me, poison me.
The light turns green,
But it doesn't register soon enough
And horns' honking floods the inside of my car,
Drowns out your voice.
But I want to hear you again,
I want for you to fill up my skull,
Bounce inside my walls;
And you come back to me.
Suffocate me.
Two vines, you wrap your arms around me-
Not much consolation, you strangle me.
My small, tight convertible is the only thing that keeps me safe from you.
And again the light is green,
And I've almost reached my final destination, ma finale.
But your hands, they too spread like vines over my body,
Your fingers, thorns, prick my skin,
Hold me back from taking the next step.
And once more, I'm stuck.
From moving.
From breathing.
From doing anything at all.
Maybe because of you.
Or maybe it's because of me.

Valencia Community College, Orlando, FL
Faculty Contact:
Nichole McPherson, Coordinator, College & Foundation Relations