Ellen Chang-Richardson | GROTTO, 1st Place Winner of the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry


Pain of release,
is worth a thousand haters

mothballs, humidity
hang in heat     fill; broken generator.

Whizz-whirr of insects,
at worst tilted by staccato pops.

We scratch surface until wounds burst,
her touch is cold against my socks.

Sap weeps from tall serrated sheaths
aromatherapy, in disguise;

our hands, stained red with grease
sticky with the tar of their lies.

and the Bay recedes
molten ice, choppy green;

holds enough plastic to gut a fish,
weaned on a diet
spoilt milk, benzene.


Author’s Bio

Ellen Chang-Richardson (she/her) is a poet, writer, and editor of Taiwanese & Cambodian-Chinese descent. Recipient of the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry, her writing has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine, Coven Editions: Grimoire, Revue PØST, and more. Her inaugural chapbook, Unlucky Fours, is published by Anstruther Press (2020). Ellen is the founder of Little Birds Poetry, a series of editing workshops for poets and creative writers.