Thinking of Basements

Aimee R. Cervenka

I want to lie on bare concrete, spread
arms and fingers, and once more
inhale the mingled smells of your
menthol cigarettes and motor oil,
hold still until my limbs turn cold,
until I hear the clatter of billiard balls
across a felted table. And when I get up,
I will be eight years old, running for coffee.
Mugs balanced carefully, I’ll tiptoe
down the narrow stairs.

Aimee R. Cervenka is a writer, climate activist, and professional baker. Her poetry has appeared in Poet Lore, Ascent, Slab, and others, and was selected as a runner up in Headway Quarterly’s Winter 2020 Writing Contest. She currently lives in Spokane, Washington, with her husband, dog, and two rabbits.

Briefly Write Poetry Prize 2022 – Results

Poetry is the gift that keeps on giving.

Judging the Briefly Write Poetry Prize 2022 was a joy, a delight, an inspiration… and a headache.

In every poem is a little piece of the self; in every stanza, a light that illuminates a life. Every word is an opening to new worlds. We read, re-read and re-read every poem submitted to the Poetry Prize because every entry was worthy of careful re-reading.

Popular themes this year included love, hope, loneliness and revenge. Flowers, friends and poetry all played starring roles; trees, coffee and the sky at night were close behind. Every voice added something unique.

Poetry is a conversation and we hope our choices spark discussion. We hope you’ll agree with some of our picks… and would love to hear what you think in the comments below. Feel free to reflect on the poems and congratulate the winning poets!

We are so grateful for the support and love shown to our little literary space. Thank you… and you and you and you.

Thank you,

Daniel & Elinor


Aimee R. Cervenka, ‘Thinking of Basements’


Jennie E. Owen, ‘Haircut’


Galia Admoni, ‘Crow Boy’

Ellen Clayton, ‘Synodic’

Al McClimens, ‘Wattle & Daub’


Beattie, ‘I, Having Been Bitten by an Angel’

Halle George, ‘The Lost Girls’

Suchita Senthil Kumar, ‘My Father Taught Me To Touch Fire’

Tehnuka, ‘We, too, in summer sun’

Laura Theis, ‘sapling’

Sherre Vernon, ‘My Daughter Asks Me If I Was Happy’


Gaynor Beesley * Creana Bosac * Jonathan Chan * Ion Corcos * Jennifer R. Edwards * Carl Farrell * Donna Faulkner (née Miller) * Lindsey Harrington * Kerry J Heckman * Jennifer Ruth Jackson * Helen Kay * Keith Li-Bouchard * Mina Malik * Miruna Marin * Tony Maude * Ed Meek * Emily Munro * Muiz Opeyemi Ajayi * Aly Rhodes * Shana Ross * Abdulrazaq Salihu * Nnadi Samuel * Kay Sfictos * Hibah Shabkhez * Ana C. H. Silva * Jenniska Small * Sally Jane Tate * Chidiebere Udeokechukwu * Candace J. Williams * Angela Zimmerling

Our comps are free to enter, our zine is free to read. Help us keep it that way: