Congratulations to the winners of our first “Poetry in the Garden” Contest! The poetry entries were judged by a committee comprised of professional poets and literary professionals. Judging was anonymous and the judges’ decisions are final. The winners will have the opportunity to read at the Main Library’s Poetry in the Garden series on April 17th at 7:00 p.m.
Father’s Day by Leslie Clark
I stare into spaces that no longer own him.
He is moving, fast. Out of the picture.
The frame holds the ones who remain.
Awake, I know the color of day–
cloud mist over mountains,
birch skin curling in strips.
shadows under my eyes.
My father’s bones, wherever they lie,
Are powder gray.
Wasps chew them into paper.
The café door is the color of overcast sky.
Inside, a child sits in a highchair,
Her red bowl of cereal spilled on the tray.
She practices syllables: ice, hi, eyes.
A woman sings her the song
About the spider, the rain and the waterspout.
The girl’s fingers twist and twine.
The spider climbs, higher and higher.
Building a web strong enough
to contain a running man.
The running man and the wasps.
After the Flood by Jeffrey Hillard
at La Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba
In a painting the curator wipes dry,
the wet, bedraggled condor, now a dark blue,
lifts its wing into the shape of a mountain.
The wing’s shine, gone. On her knees, the curator
pins the painting to a blanket in the courtyard
outside, pats dry each delicate inch of painting
thick with floodwater stain. She dries rooms
of floating colors
and clips wet books dangling
like tents from wires strung across the courtyard,
her knees reddened raw, the sun continuing to cook
the ground, mud wrapping around her ankles.
After twenty straight hours
of no sleep, one recurring dream now balances
her on a bank as she plunges both feet
into a swift
river to plug its flow.
Up and down, on and off
her knees, with days yet to scrub and dry,
she once even dozed on a charcoal drawing.
When she woke, the river had ebbed
before she could drown.
Crowning by Karen George
I’m novocained, but pain remains
in the drill's sound, its pressure.
I prod my fingers into cool leather,
moor my eyes to the ceiling's poster
(the seventh hole at Pebble Beach),
sink into the plush green, the Pacific blue.
Before you died, the dentist always asked
about you, marveled at your hole-in-one,
laughed over new clubs to improve
your game. He didn't speak of you this time.
The omission heavy as the hole in my tooth--
a loss my tongue worries.
My gaze lapses to the dental chart
I don’t want to see. Numbered teeth
big as clenched fists,
(molars, incisors, canines),
the cross-section of labeled parts,
enamel to roots single- or doubly-forked.
I try to hear the drill's wail as a prayer
that my number twenty (second bicuspid)
doesn't crack or my jaw unlatch
as I sound the words in my head:
dentin, cementum, pulp.
How you must have ached
for it to end, even as you grudged
to leave this world.
Paean - Mary-Jane Newborn
Let us now praise billionaires,
those worthy job creators, `though,
as creators do, they seem to be taking a rather long
seventh day of rest.
Billionaires get where they are by hard work –
other people’s, millions of other people’s.
Let us lift our voices and sing
of all the jobs created in China, India, Indonesia,
Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Africa –
everywhere – even here.
More and more jobs
for human traffickers and law enforcers,
for courts and lawyers and prisons.
For household staff and gardeners,
for crews of yachts and Lear jets,
for chauffeurs, masseurs and providers
of exotic pleasures.
For tailors and jewelers and cobblers,
tobacconists, chocolatiers, vintners, distillers.
Jobs for miners of blood diamonds.
Jobs for makers and sellers of armaments.
For builders of barracks, high-rises, tenements and mansions,
for makers and fixers of costly conveyances.
Jobs for mountaintop removers, frackers, oil sands scrapers,
deep sea drillers, razers of forests, tropical and temperate.
Dumpers of toxic waste in waters, air and land.
For purveyors of luxury sweets and meats
and all addictive substances,
legal and ill-, prescription and non-,
and thus the medical industry.
For undertakers, gravediggers, crematoria.
Ah, these are the days these lords have made.
Do we rejoice and be glad in them?
Susan Glassmeyer, whose most recent book is Cook’s Luck, promotes the love of poetry through reading events, projects, and workshops sponsored by LittlePocketPoetry.Org.
Richard Hague, author of 14 volumes of prose and poetry has taught since l969 at Purcell Marian High School and in other venues around the country.
Pauletta Hansel leads creative writing and other programs at Grailville and around the region. She is author of four poetry collections.
Rhonda Pettit, the author of the poetic drama, The Global Lovers, teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College.