Synkroniciti is excited to reveal the winner of our “Intersections” poetry contest, Lori Lasseter Hamilton’s “The Alien of Old Springville Road and Medina Drive.” This powerful poem explores the intersectionality of being a rape survivor and a cancer survivor. We are beside Lori on a cold table, lying motionless under the machine that kills her cancer cells. This recalls lying motionless at the threat of her rapist years before. Why do medical institutions seem cold and unresponsive, even judgemental in the face of trauma? Lori makes further connections: hurting herself as a child by eating raw acorns, being hurt by the institutions of patriarchy in grade school. Society denies our innermost fears and pain, punishing us for being human, for having emotion. Humans are taught to be predators, hiding any bit of weakness from others, even from ourselves. Isn’t there a better way?
Lori’s allusions and imagery are compelling and deeply vulnerable–calling out the deeply misogynistic power structures that run business as usual and expressing her frustration with herself for not being able to shake off the influence of that power. If we are honest, we identify with this more than we would like. She tugs at us to do our part to change the reality humanity has built over centuries. Clear-eyed, intelligent, she points out the cultural gas-lighting that involves all of us.
Lori Lasseter Hamilton is a medical records clerk for a local hospital in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Some of her poems have appeared in North/South Appalachia, Global Poemic, The Stray Branch, SWWIM, Parousia Magazine, Steel Toe Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and more recently, on Poetry Super Highway. Lori’s fourth chapbook of poetry, limo casket, was published by Voice Lux Press in October 2022, and is available at voiceluxjournal.wordpress.com. She is a breast cancer survivor and rape survivor, and holds a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.