Poetry Winning Entries


By Sally Clark


The pickup truck lurched as

he stepped on the brakes, even at

our dirt-road speed, and said,

stay here in the cab and

armed with a shotgun he grabbed

from the back, approached the reptile

stretched across the road, took aim and

fired a solid shot into its head,

jerking the body into contortions as it

rose into the air and fell back to the dirt

from whence it came.


Then he took her, my precious, my wonder

and innocent, and walked her to the place where

the body lay in pious curves; stooped low to

the ground and pointed as she stared at the

flesh, the scales, the fangs; listened as he shook

the awful, chilling rattles; warned her,

our solemn faced cherub, of the death that it

might bring her as I prayed, Lord, please, close

her eyes to his serpentine beauty, please, blind her

to his awful God-created glory, his jewel-patterned

skin and golden glint and freeze her heart to

the desire to follow his lies down that

wicked garden path;


and so we both protect her, as best we can.


Ezekiel 28:11-15, (paraphrased)  “You were … perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you … you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.”


Morning Waltz

By Kat Kennedy


The dance begins.

  The woman moves slowly --

         sallow and swollen,

         dismal and drowning

                                 from within.


Weighty as wet clay

      from the briary banks of this river --

                cold Chattahoochee,

she trods and plods

                through humid haze.


Gnats cling to her

               like barnacles to a dead pier.

 She wipes them away,

               making room for these others here.


Swarms of them, unwelcome mourners,

                 join the procession

                 buzzing their bugles around her head

                 as she heaves and hefts her way

                 through one more morning,

                            dirge of one more day.


Winter Fruit

By Barbara Olic-Hamilton


Deep into February

the mountain ash

still displays orange berries dangling on clattering branches

like left-over Christmas ornaments


With yellow breasts

black tails

white masks

eyes kohl-painted

like Egyptian pharaohs

cedar waxwings

flock to pick

the last clearance items

of the season


Ripping berries off branches

biting dried stems in two

cedar waxwings

drop berry clusters

too big

to swallow

bombing the ground

with bright fruit

waging ground battles

over winter spoils

leaving only stripped branches

when they swarm

the tree across the street


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