Ghost Shell wins honors in July poetry contest 2010
Native American journalist-author Trace (DeMeyer) Hentz (Greenfield, MA) wrote her poem “Ghost Shell” in May and submitted it on June 23, 2010 to the Goodreads Poetry Contest. Her poem took second place among 6 finalists on July 2. Goodreads and the Poetry judges Wendy Babiak, Andrew Haley, and Ruth Bavetta selected six poems as finalists and the July winner was determined by online votes. Winning poems are published in the Goodreads’ newsletter – distributed monthly to more than 2.5 million people.
Hentz is an adoptee and an occasional poet. “I write when I feel moved to write and if it’s very personal, like Ghost Shell, it takes the form of a poem. If an adoptee reads this, they will understand, since it speaks to loss.” She maintains a blog about American Indian adoptees at https://blog.americanindianadoptees.com.
“I started to write poetry very young actually, years before I became a journalist. The comments from those who voted for Ghost Shell were very sincere and beautiful. People were relating to it, the whole point of poetry. A poem has to speak to you.”
I dream of this, the weight,
a tortoise shell on my back, a heavy hull.
Did I choose its protection? I was asleep.
No one ever said, “You can drop it now” or
“It’s safe to drop that, you’ll be ok.”
Maybe the shell did protect me at one time
when I needed armor.
Maybe it isolated me for reasons
I do not know or understand.
It was heavy and hard to balance.
When I woke up, I could feel its weight.
I can still feel it, like a ghost,
like an arm or leg amputated.
Somehow it still signals my brain,
Maybe my mother put this shell on me before she left me.
Maybe I inherited it, like a talisman.
Maybe the shell was what women in my family wore to survive.
All I know is I was born with it. © 2010
Three of her earlier poems were published in the spring edition of Yellow Medicine Review in 2008. Her memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (published in 2010) was retired but she is working on a new edition in 2020. The award-winning journalist lives in Greenfield with her husband Herb Hentz, now retired Greenfield Community College’s Director of Admission.
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