Based on the exhibitions featured at the museum during the 2015-2016 academic year and works from the permanent collection, students submitted written work responding to individual pieces of art experienced first-hand at JCSM. Entry was open to graduate and undergraduate students. Prizes of $500 were awarded for two academic essays and two creative submissions. For information on  the writing competition for the 2016-2017 academic year, contact Scott Bishop at 334-844-7014. 


“The Cotton Load is Too Heavy” a poem by Emma Kinsey

Every morning, she rises
slow as a longneck bottle, plants
her heels in her worn house
slippers. Her scars are translucent

ribbons shredding the palms of her
hands—the soft underbellies of blue
crabs turning up at capture, reflecting
light in the still-dark room. Pad-footed,

she inches down a narrow
pine stairwell—the weight
of which gives beneath her
soles. This woman still feels

an old pulse of sunlight beneath her
skin, brown-freckled and muddied
by the tidewater. She was called
brackish water baby. As she tucks

the white wicker laundry basket
into her hip, the soft wood gives.
Darkness overwhelms her.
The load sweetens the dead air.

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