Issue January 29, 2008

Literary LEO 2008: Poetry

Poetry • 1st Place

Black
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

perfect apple,
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

Avocet Coup
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
from devouring.


Poetry • Honorable Mention

Number Problem
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.

Numbers
Numbers
They fill her mind—
104
Her weight
10
The pounds she must shed
3
The times she has purged this week
0
Days she feels in control
Numbers numbing
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

24/7
It is her number problem
Alone.