2021

1st Place Winner

David Schmidt / Panama City, FL
Fuhrr Ant the Guns of ‘39

Machine-blue pistols point mindless at his cranium
He is marching through boulder-strewn woods
As if nothing were wrong
Cheerful busy warblers watch them pass
Under luxuriant canopy of green
He is a courier and not the running kind
Somehow he has the wrong last name
And was born in the wrong country
And worships a different way
Soldier bangs grip against his head
To the water! He shouts. Keep straight!
In this lake just one year ago he swam
Its color rich and memories deep.
No family left—
Now on him other souls depend.
Behind him rests Mercedes-Benz
Loaned by partisan friend
It had gone wide open for awhile
Across frontier in night
But Poland was not to be—
Three tires blown crashing barricade
Waiting craft amongst cedars lay—
Machine-gunned canopy and propeller broken, and pilot missing
All that matters is gone for now, except for God
And guns, and arcane secrets known to few.
One hundred one, and American now; never talked and never will

2nd Place Winners


Christian Childers / Hopkinsville, KY
Sunday Morning Muse

Sharon Cunningham / Newhall, CA
Within the Twinkle of Sand and Stars

Darlene Dann / Milwaukie, WI
A French Villanelle in Tribute to My Dear Mom

Sydney Duncan / San Francisco, CA
Medicine

Jax Garrett / Milwaukie, WI
Teeth

Jim Healey / Aptos, CA
Mr. Rogers, Mr. Jackson, and That Awesome Mr. Beck

Hannah Holtz / Centerville, OH
Dorm

Rozann Kraus / West Stockbridge, MA
Half-baked History: Peach Cobbler

Hana Krieger / Palo Alto, CA
Regression Analysis

Tracey Lee / Landenberg, PA
Rhubarbie
Julia Miller / Chicago, IL
Only One Swipe Away

John Molineaux / Severna Park, MD
Ollie

Sandra Nelms-Ludwig / Bedford, VA
Ashtray

Terry O’Banion / Cathedral City, CA
In My Backyard There Be Dragons

Elisabeth Otocka / Virginia Beach, VA
Who Waters the Orchids?

Stella Plein / St. Louis, MO
Question of Relativity

Venancio Rivera / Perth Amboy, NJ
King of the Wilds

Alyssa Roberts / Basking Ridge, NJ
The Little Palm Warbler

Chloe Shiffman / New York, NY
Dead Dog Beach

Victoria Yang / Brooklyn, NM
Janus’s Favorite Flower (opioid crisis)

3rd Place Winners

John Alfonso / Tamarac, FL
Bonded

Patricia Batteate / San Jose, CA
The Final Verse

Richard Breese / Youngstown,
OH Hound Dog

Cleo Brown / New York, NY
April’s Fool

Irma Collins / Winchester, VA
The Departure

Linda Coppola / Seminole, FL
The Letter

Rodger Cunningham / Atascosa, TX
Pendulums

Mary Daley / Roseburg, OR
That Blooming Onion

Margareth Debrosse / Valley Stream, NY
The Barrel

Neal Donner / Los Angeles, CA
Creative Destruction

Romy du Jong / Cocoa, FL
Pretty, Quick Draw, and Watch Turkey

Janie Durham / Cordele, GA
The Daydreamers

Wilson Engel / Gilbert, AZ
Chloe’s Desire at Last

Michael Fiore / Schenectady, NY
Off to School

Eva Garcia-Mayers / San Diego, CA
A Walk in the World

Marion Hays / Vacaville, CA
The Why of Me

Carol Heineman / Lehigh Acres, FL
Les Sabots

Jan Hetherly / Scroggins, TX
Sharing Foxholes

Myraka Jones / The Villages, FL
Birthright

Frances Kalapodis / New Franklin, OH
Memories

Sugwon Kang / Oneonta, NY
A Storm Story

Joyce Keedy / Towson, MD
Little Lamb

Kim Klardie / Turlock, CA
My Nose

Steven Lambert / Warsaw, IN
The Modern Prometheus

Annette Lamphere / Colville, WA
Winter in Alaska

Kathy Langen / Batavia, NY
Mama

Erin Maas / Atlanta, GA
The Tree

Julie Mandell / Poway, CA
Before Amanda

Ron Matros / Mesilla, NM
Ode to the Cretan Runner

Nancy Medlin / Chesapeake, VA
The In-Between Time

Donald Millner / Durham, NC
Seeing Joy

Darryl Monteiro / Fall River, MA
Lip Burn

Sherrie Morrison / Lexington, SC
Messy Business

Jeffery Moser / Aurora, CO
March 4, 1861—Lincoln’s First Inaugural

Len Mykietyn / Jupiter, FL
Bittersweet

Charles Poole / Prescott, AZ
Voice in the Dark

Mitra Pourmehr / San Rafael, CA
Time

Richard Raunio / Minneapolis, MN
A Ball to Kick

Brenna Reeter / Chula, MO
Everyday Life

Patricia Richter / New Berlin, WI
Jeff

Cindi Rockwell / Elizabethtown, PA
Simple Pleasure

Mary Sartor / Brownsburg, IN
Rapture Entanglement

Jenni Schwartz / Las Vegas, NV
Intoxication

Rex Seigler / Wichita Falls, TX
Failed Haiku

Robert Skeele / Anacortes, WA
Dear Heart

Ian Sloan / Upper Marlboro, MD
Moving Forward with Faith

Roger Stang / Belgrade, MN
A Man’s Man

Linda Susiene / Pasco, WA
Cancer

Kenneth Swan / Marion, IN
Of Art and Nature

Deborah Tash / San Francisco, CA
An Ode to Green

Debbie Toliver / Rotan, TX
Tears Really Do Burn

Jeffrey White / Elkhorn, WI
Prolixity

Greg Wilcox / Tacoma, WA
Amid a Dreary Rain

Linda Williams-Avila / Hercules, CA
Torn Fruit

Jennifer Barradale / Middletown, NJ
Cat Scratch

Jackie Batty / Portland, OR
I Will Breathe Life into You Even When You Are Just Ash

Susan Marie Black / Cookeville, TN
Awg the Dog

Daphne Boyd / Altadena, CA
The Red Man

Ross Briese / Elkhorn, NE
Confession

Beslen Childers / Wallingford, CT
A Nice Dark

Mack Cooper / Boston, MA
The Wandering Jew

Andrea de Freitas / Denton, TX
Mycelium

Marissa Defino / Fair Lawn, NJ
Bare Cedar

Samantha Dewitt / Lakewood, WA
The Allure

Anthony Di Virgilio / Stoneham, MA
The Bancroft Burglar

Mila Fisher / Dallas, TX
Igneous

Francisco Gonzalez / Covington, GA
Balloons and Pork

Jennifer Gutierrez / Corona, CA
Rêve

Grace Haak / Phoenix, AZ
Nope

Corin Hamilton / Sacramento, CA
Ite, Missa Est

Jonathan Hopkins / Suitland, MD
Sonnet XXV

William Jefferson / Gretna, LA
Christmas Meal

Shamerra Jeffres / Charleston, SC
Amorous Destruction

Erin Jeon / Irvine, CA
Koreatown

Lindsay Johnson / Fort Collins, CO
It Seems a More Honest Woman Would Run Into the Woods

Melissa Joines / Raleigh, NC
Clinical Depression

Aanvi Koolwal / Fremont, CA
Conversation

Karly Kramer / Clarksville, TN
The Mysteries of Life

Lin LeCompte / Austin, TX
Aurelia

Adriano Llosa / Los Angeles, CA
mRNA, My Bull

Johnette Loefgren / Spring Hill, FL
The Language of Her Hair

Brion Luetjen / Secaucus, NJ
A Slight Happy

Katharine Luzzatto / Suffolk, VA
Syrup

Kimberly Martin / Hurricane, WV
Metallic Love

Lynne Martin / Tampa, FL
A Question

Maya Martinez / Plantation, FL
Lover

Alena Marvin / Pensacola, FL
Epistle for Hades

Lanai McAuley / Bayonne, NJ
Cybertronic Reality

Eric McKay / Dexter, MO
Violet

Cate Mitstifer / Hudson, OH
Schrödinger Had It Right

James O’Neill / Brooklyn, NY
Still

Natalie Orman / Saranac Lake, NY
Monochromatic

Richard Pate / Sebastopol, CA
My Favorite Restaurant

Susan Rahmann / Crestone, CO
Fish Tank

Tahreem Rehman / Annapolis, MD
Secrets of the Sea

Cynthia Rudy / Tazewell, VA
On the Other Side of Plastic

Abby Scott / Wayland, MA
Kite

Josef Smith / Grand Blanc, MI
Umbra

Ariel Tidwell / Denver, CO
Putrefaction

Aleksy Umbers / Woodinville, WA
Below the Frigid Skies Pantoum