Writing contest: Adult Poetry

FIRST PLACE

Moonless Night by Elmo Mondragon, Santa Fe

Light fades at the end of day.

The sky darkens

into a riot of stars.

We hadn’t noticed.

We parked the truck

and walked down the valley

to a tree I would cut

the next day for firewood.

I wanted her to see

I would be a good husband.

But the dark engulfed us

and we walked in circles

realizing finally we were lost.

Near tears and trembling lip

and a curse beneath her breath.

I noticed we were seeing the same roots

and rocks on the same road again and again.

My head sank. When I tilted back to breathe,

I saw the stars.

Thousands of stars. The Milky Way,

the Great Bear, the Big Dipper and the

North Star.

I knew where we were,

where Penasco was, and Llano

and further back over the hill,

Taos. We found our way home.



Writing contest: Adult Poetry

SECOND PLACE

Apricotmap by Katy Yanda, Santa Fe

Make me a willow cabin at your gate, Twelfth Night, W.S.

Make me an apricotmap,

So that I may walk out your gate in July,

petalparchment in hand

And know where to introduce myself to the

fruitbearing trees

With their orangeglobes of delight,

Offered over mudbrick walls

On dryditches, in a triangle of curbside dirt,

peregrinating with scant rain and acequiawater,

seasons upon seasons — bitter winter years,

the drought ones,

the rare, blossoming spring

(they are immigrants like so much of what

blooms here, our late frosts unwelcome)

An apricotmap, for a meandering and movable

summerfeast.

We have an uncle, really my mother’s cousin —

but more avuncular than not,

Who roams New England backroads and fields

in april and may

Searching for forgotten apple trees,

white and pink pockets amidst effervescent newspring

Ones that hang low over crumblewalls,

at hidden house corners, lone pilgrims by wetditches

Never brought to market, gathered like jewels for

a fall and winter sweetbite.

Lost to us with migration and heartache.

He finds them. Cuts a branch. And returns home

To graft the mystery and bring, its rare full fruit

to his orchard

Saved for us humans (never lost to its birds, grass

and ditches)

found like a gift. Unknown for seasons and seasons,

Now gathered like jewels.

I think sometimes, always smiling, of his fair

Frankensteins, with a dozen or two types

growing from one tree. And our uncle, sharing

mysteries and maps

as he wanders through an appleblossom

persephonewaltz —

Each tree something old, now new,

Something utterly treasured.



Writing contest: Adult Poetry

THIRD PLACE 

Math Is the Thing With Feathers — With Apologies to Emily Dickinson by Ann Turpin, Rio Ranch

Math is the thing with feathers

that perches in the soul.

It gives us hope, it lifts us up …

but hold on a second, I’ve got a question.

As “mathematics” is so formal, we usually go

with the shorter version –

simple, elegant; math, just math … you know.

Math explains the universe,

keeps everything contained in its place.

When called upon, sends rocket ships to space.

A Force-like superpower,

math is everywhere to be certain.

North, south, east, west! Urban, rural!

So tell me, Britain …

What’s up with the plural?

I know you think that I digress, but I always bump on that

extra “s.”

Perhaps I should move on and just get over it,

but add an s to the end of math??

I’d sooner put mayonnaise on a donut.

Maybe our word doesn’t have feathers at all, but had to swim

across the pond

and the poor little s got lost at sea — and drowned.

Only four letters made it to my shore:

m, a, t, and h, nothing more.

So as I watch Britain’s YouTube math — um maths — titans

and to my mathematical understanding you build a bridge,

I realize, that we are, at last, two peoples

separated by a common language.

(1) comment

Susan Nalder

Katy Yanda creates the best words! petalparchment, apricotmap, and many more. Makes me want one of those apricots, dangling, tempting over someone's wall. Lovely

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