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2018 APPR Winners

"There Are No Cassocks in America"

by Rachel Scott


There are no Cassocks in America.

No men armed with steel snakes, laughter and smoke

on their lips, reeking of vodka, who gained pleasure

in lining Jewish men and boys together, guns pointed

upward, only to never pull

the trigger.

Baruch’s cousin tells him they’re gone.


There are no gunshots in America.

But there are echoing sounds, such as engines

rumbling in streets, children kicking tin cans in

 alleys with new shoes, and the occasional

bang of a pot. Phantom bullets hit

his skin.

Baruch’s cousin tells him he’s safe.

"Alleys Through the Valleys" (excerpt)

by Benjamin Phelps

They were chasing him again. It was almost like a daily ritual. Five of the other boys at his school would chase him from the edge of the school’s property all the way to Little Italy. As usual, he managed to slip them by cutting through some of the thin alleys that New York had in abundance. He had won the game (as he tried to think of it) again today. He did not want to think about what would happen if he lost and they caught him. Their cries of “guinea” and “dago” were enough to worry him. I will never be caught. I am too fast for them... 

"The American Dream" (excerpt)

by Tess La Fera

The American Dream

Has taken a knee

Its silent protest has become

Fire and brimstone

Its mouth arrested

Its freedom under siege

Caged children

Waiting at the border

For deportation

This nation

Doesn’t stand under God

It stands for destruction

Another black man gunned down for

Who knows what this time –