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The Pushcart Prize annually seeks the best poems, essays, and short fiction, as nominated by small press publishers and literary journals.
It is Brown's second Pushcart nomination. In 2016, his work "fighting seasons" was nominated by the War, Literature & the Arts Journal. That work also appears in his collection "Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems from Inside the Wire."
The poem "Airman, Second Grade" regards the poet's experiences growing up in an active-duty U.S. Air Force family:
Airman, Second Grade
This is where
you ask me where I’m from.
And this is where
I tell you that my family and I
are in the Air Force.
Focused as a death-ray lens
on the playground ants below, you suddenly blaze
that my pants are on fire.
I do not understand why.
I know, just as the sky is blue:
My family is in the Air Force.
I have already moved four times
that I can remember. Each address
has been a new bicycle, and learning to pedal
through conversations like this one.
Kids can’t be in the Air Force, you laugh.
I burn, my face hot. My eyes sting.
But I get it now:
I am not from around here
and you are not
one of us.