Poetry • 1st Place
By Rebecca Henderson
Mammoth Cave with no flashlights, candles, or even a lantern
Black filled with everything…
Black thick Black wound dark healing
Black night October full moon drama white against Black night
Black Black Black mist in the dark of the moon
Black velvet Black dresses
Black hairs on the white bathroom sink
Black rooting to the earth
Black skin so rich in hue
Black bile that spills from lips thru Black telephones
Black and dark treachery where passion has gone rotten
Black cold lips of death
Rich Black soil composted to grow the most amazing colors
Mammoth Cave with no flashlights candles or even a lantern……
“Oh night that was my guide, oh night much blacker than the darkest night”
Black that joins the lover to the beloved one.
Black cape of velvet and silk to enfold my white skin.
I’ll be buried in a Black crocheted dress of trash bags
So that when my flesh rots_____a long time from now, my white bones will be dressed in designer Black plastic.
Crows line the highway to the funeral…
I hold the last living crow on my arm.
Mammoth Cave with no flashlights, candles or even a lantern.
Poetry • 2nd Place
The Juniper Tree
By Nettie Farris
All morning I have sat beneath the juniper
peeling this one
its skin flushed with crimson.
Even the fruit itself harbors minute
traces of color,
a multitude of thin
threadlike trails of vermilion
moving silently inward.
The snow, today, piles up around me
like a mournful white sigh
but winter herself
refuses to share
her diaphanous secrets.
Look: I have cut myself on the knife,
and one drop of blood
has quietly fallen;
one miniature red radish takes root
in the snow. I think I could sit here all day,
under the juniper. I think I could sit here forever.
Poetry • 3rd Place
By Richard Boeda
Refugees, second wives, and cowled
monks squeeze through blear
tourists. A corpse floats
on the surface of the Seine. Water chops
and gulps, pounds the scorched
breasts and face. Birds swarm
over. Fledged men on bridges try to snag
the body from the water with hooking
ash-poles and nets. Timbery sirens call
all to notice. Police arrive with shotguns.
They fire at the chalky sky; abate the birds
Poetry • Honorable Mention
By Katie Caswell
Ponytail dangling, a jingle of bangle bracelets against the desktop
She sits swallowed in a narrow student desk
Struggling to focus on the algebra worksheet in front of her
A thin yellow pencil in her thinner white hands
The radiator growls, filling the empty room with heat
And she cannot concentrate.
They fill her mind—
The pounds she must shed
The times she has purged this week
Days she feels in control
Her vision blurs
Her hunger erupts within her
If only someone would notice
How thin her wrists are
How her uniform skirt slides down from her waist
How her brown hair is thinning with the rest of her.
A bell shouts in the hallway
Loud students file in groups into the classroom
Lunch is over
“Today in class we’ll be graphing equations,” she hears
No one has seen her—she has disappeared
In a sea of ponytails and uniform skirts
It is her number problem