Thank you so much to everyone who entered our annual poetry contest. This year Dana Yost judged the landscape category, and Lee Ann Roripaugh judged the portrait category. Please enjoy this year’s winning poems 🙂
Sudden Weather By Todd Williams Maybe we were never closer than when buried in the basement beneath mounds of musty blankets as sirens pierced alien skies turning orange, then red, then black. From wind-rattled windows we searched roiling heavens as sirens wailed and the transistor radio sang along in pitched squeals and howls, these sonic storms filling tight quarters and our imaginations fully. Together, we'd close our eyes as hailstones began tapping and then crashing to Earth all around, leaving cracked glass and bent metal behind in the damp afterglow. And sometimes, in the small space between sleep and being awake, I still feel your soft and firm hand reach to my shoulder, quiet calm tenor of your voice at my ear, and the perfume of your coffee and cigarette-stained breath saying, "Don't worry; it will be all right," the threat of sudden weather not enough to break the strength of family, even after all these years in your absence.
Du Fu Proclaims his Love for East River Stars hang all across the vast plain; the moon bobs in the flow of the great river. Thoughts Written While Traveling at Night by Du Fu By Eric Schulte I don’t know about you, but I think Du Fu would have loved East River. If Du Fu lived here he would say the sky is all that matters, painted in watercolor blue and showing a pathway to heaven. He’d say the first day of August is too early to declare summer over. He’d say get outside and enjoy the tangerine sunrise or bright moon lighting up the prairie. His advice would be to pack all the colors and sounds you can for the coming cold winter. He’d say this is not “Flyover Country” and any exile near a field of sunflowers would be just fine. He’d say baseball in summer or football on a glorious Friday night in autumn creates community. He’d say a glass of wine is best enjoyed at a bar on Phillips Avenue, or in a cabin at Lake Kampeska, or anywhere good friends meet. He’d say a cup of coffee at the Red Rooster in Aberdeen is the perfect way to start your day. He’d say the pasque flower is a mirror to the soul, and every bit as beautiful as the peach blossom. I like to think he would be at peace living here. I like to think he would call it home.
Rules for Flight By Kathy Bjornestad On a windy day a flock of winter geese break and seam together, battle windy chaos as they fight to hold form. . Rules for flight dissolve upon that January day. The wind’s hand opens, tosses like confetti—feathered bodies, stitched in drunken patterns, scrambled etchings in the sky.