INDIVIDUAL POEMS -  33 winners with 15 or more votes


my own name
repeated like a mantra
a hollow sound
I touch her hand, then her face
as her mind slips farther away

Thelma Mariano


second time around -
you hold me tighter now
even in sleep
lest I visit the place
where old wounds lie

Thelma Mariano

New boots and a peach –
odd that the moment I feel
grit beneath my sole
is the moment I notice
my teeth strike against the stone.

James Roderick Burns


idly I watch
the wren from my window
coming and going
and trilling -
last night there were stars like this

Doreen King


If only the leaves
were not so green,
this lover’s heart
might enjoy
a little emptiness.

M. Kei


With a groan
like the breaking of a man’s heart,
the chokecherry tree
comes down in a white fury
of lightning and blossoms.

M. Kei



no reply needed
for the mute moon
on this pond
but the silence at home
is screaming for words

Darrell Lindsey



the conversation turns
towards the stars
I wonder if it is we who've
been captured in a jar

Collin Barber

another winter
colder than the last
I'm still waiting
for the day she tells me
she wants a divorce

Collin Barber


my dogwood
sheds its blossoms
without fuss–
friends insist I hear
their latest bad news

Jack Prewitt


a white butterfly
settles on my boot,
folds its wings…
for as long as it takes
and a moment more

Jack Prewitt

the sound of water
through a curtain of willow –
isn’t this how love begins
first an opening and then
the spilling over

Lynne Rees


on her cell phone
outside the doctor's office
"the bone scan was clear"
half a block later
I stop for the lilacs

Philomene Kocher


I know not
of gods or grace
but am content
to hold your hand and
eat this apple with you

Zane Parks


a pile of stones
deep in the woods
all that’s left
of someone’s life
built day upon day

Dave Bacharach


I want you to make
something beautiful, she says
She cups her cold hands
over my face - mother, why
am I not enough?

Fiona Lee


in the nursing home...
ever smaller
the circles he walks
the circles of his thoughts

Irene Golas


each morning
it flourishes along the fence
star jasmine
I planted there where
you said it wouldn't grow

Amelia Fielden


a letter from you
after all these years
I discover the lost me
in your memory

Linda Jeannette Ward

My little brother
Punished all day in his room
Envies the sparrows
Outside his window
Shivering in the bright snow

Sal Amico M. Buttaci


autumn afternoon ...
driving past my childhood home
I can almost see
Mother washing windows
Dad making leaf piles

Joanne Morcom

stopping for gas
in the small prairie town
we listen
to the meadowlark's song
and nothing else

Joanne Morcom

searching for seeds
a chickadee hops around
the limestone Buddha:
the garden feeds
different hungers

Pat Tompkins

inside me is weeping
white lilies keep
dropping yellow pollen
on the night table

Kozue Uzawa

dialing your number
only the polite exchange
with a stranger
rain in the hotel courtyard
falls on yellow bamboo

Cherie Hunter Day


these days when
everything seems so strange --
I glimpse a blue hibiscus
down a path
I never thought I'd take

Angela Leuck


your strong arms
lifting me high in the branches
of the cherry tree--
only a child but I knew
this was forbidden fruit

Angela Leuck


she said
the freesias had lost
their scent
her old hands wrapped
so tight around the vase

Andria Plowman


 a new pacemaker
in my grandfather's chest--
on the warm tongue
of the doe he shot
snowflakes melt

Andrew Riutta

now that
my little girl has taught me
and friend
in sign language
what do I say to her?

Andrew Riutta

these pixels
running across the screen
spelling words
if only I were the keys
your fingertips touch

CW Hawes

applying my face
from assorted bottles
and tubes
all for a glimpse of the girl
I used to be

Kathy Lippard Cobb

as dark-clad figures
whisper condolences
I recall
your booming laughter
. . . and how you hated black

Kathy Lippard Cobb




Dawn Bruce

whips the grey lake
to silver
voices of poets turn
dull words to gold

upon curl
moves the lake
hour after hour
we study poetry

and the red-gold arc
slips into the lake
at last hurts subside
in my twilight years

and long slow shadows
on the lake
will I take this peace
into my own work

a clatter of oars
on the blue lake
I turn to my computer
begin a long sequence



Julie Thorndyke

September gone
and another birthday
I pause
before turning the fourth
corner of the year

these book-lined walls
all thought, every emotion
on my calendar I schedule
a day to run free

last day of term
locking the library door
on silence
I check myself out
for a long, long loan

Melisa Fauceglia

The air is thick by mid-morning
Bandanas conceal moped or mouths
Debris takes flight
The day has begun
But it never really stops

India is shrinking
Between Indian, cow and car
Fewer spaces remain
Bindi after bindi
Foreheads bob

In a multitude of directions
Three sets of dilated eyes
Reel in the tasks at hand
Up and down bicycle legs pump
Broken pedals into horn-happy traffic

Among cars, cows, rickshaw,
Camels and buses, side to side
Stringing marigold heads
For Diwali celebrations, orange piles
Thread blanket residences together

Obstacle course beggars
Dodge raging hooves and wheels
Through jungle traffic
To reach stopped cars at streetlights
While city monkeys ponder

Familiar gestures
With reoccurring déjà vu
Outstretched palms
Beat like rain on car windows
Expecting rupees’ clatter

Black star and lotus pink fabric
Wrap figures balancing big hats of rice
To nearby destinations
Everywhere is nearby
India is getting closer.

Zack Rogow

stranger sitting directly
across from me
waiting for the same plane
what life
are you returning to

tail lights flexing on and off
the jet climbs
the ramp of the sky
melting in seconds
into the fog

below the clouds
a hurricane tweezes
a coastline—
above the clouds
bright sun

why look for alien glyphs
in the grain?
so beautiful
the circles farmers plough
grooved like old records

across a grid
of farmland
a river squiggles
with geometry

in that landscape
of neuron valleys
is there a single person
on those scratchy roads
who hears this plane I’m on

when his plane went down
did my dad even have time
for last images
of me or my mom

a thin trail of clouds
goes on
for a whole county
rushing the ghosts
to their carnival

airplanes wake us
like hospitals
to feed us
cheesy food
at weird hours

I hurdle my neighbor
and head to the john
when it hits me I’m
walking way
above the clouds

these clouds streaming
all at the same
in a higher sea

the pure bliss of soaring
lighter than nitrogen
bores me now
put me on the ground
where the real game is played

landing at home runway
dollhouses suddenly enlarge
or am I shrinking
to fit inside
their tiny doors

after the flight
an unclaimed suitcase
after the flight
a stray bag
doesn’t arrive

18 votes
*SEQ 13 
Alvin Thomas Ethington
A series of twenty-two tanka (one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet) based on the Biblical Book of Canticles

I. Aleph

the sun gazed on me
I am black but beautiful
from harvesting vines

I recline upon my couch
thou art beautiful, my love

II. Bet

tell me, O my love
where dost thou pasture thy flock?
where do the sheep lie?

note their tracks, O fair woman
thou art a mare with dove's eyes

III. Gimel

a rose of Sharon
the lily of the valleys
that is who I am

a lily amongst rough thorns
that thou art, my belovéd

IV. Dalet

like an apple tree
amongst trees of the forest
is my belovéd

daughters of Jerusalem
do not rouse or hasten love

V. He

feed me with raisins
resurrect me with apples
I am faint with love

swear by the gazelles and does,
maidens, not to trouble love

VI. Vav

bounding over hills
leaping upon the mountains
my belovéd comes

allow me to hear thy voice
allow me to see thy face

VII. Zayin

my love is a stag
with the grace of a gazelle
winter is over

thy voice is sweet like honey
thy countenance is lovely


the birds are singing
the turtle-doves are cooing
figs ripen on trees

my belovéd is a dove
she hides in holes in the cliff

IX. Tet

the rains are over
entwined vines blossom in spring
send forth their fragrance

the jackals spoil my vineyard
full of the blossoms of love

X. Yod

thy flock is grazing
fragrant spices on the hill
sheep amongst lilies

I am a quick swift gazelle
young stag amidst the mountains

XI. Kaf

from the wilderness
perfumed frankincense and myrrh
powdered spices brought

thy hair is a flock of goats
thy teeth like freshly shorn sheep

XII. Lamed

a spring of water
running down from Lebanon
enjoy the choice fruit

open lips beneath thy veil
are juicy pomegranates


awaken, north wind
enchant my garden, south wind
scatter its spices

thy cheeks are pomegranates
thy skin milk; thy taste honey

XIV. Nun

my heart is awake
my hair is moist from the night
my head drenched with dew

I gather myrrh and spices
thou art drunk with love, my dove

XV. Samek

gone to his garden
my belovéd picks lilies
grazes his flock there

turn away thy dazzling eyes
like mine, they are doves by pools

XVI. Ayin

his hair is golden
palm-fronds are his locks of hair
my true belovéd

thy beauty is like the moon
thou art the sun's radiance


his lips are lilies
his cheeks are beds of spices
mouth drops liquid myrrh

gone to the garden of trees
I view the green shoots of palms

XVIII. Tsade

noble cedar trees
that is my love's countenance
quite desirable

the vine buds and flourishes
pomegranates in flower

XIX. Qof

mandrakes yield their scent
new and old fruits are ready
I give thee my love

thy breasts are clusters of grapes
they are like a gazelle's fawns

XX. Resh

I give thee mulled wine
and fresh pomegranate juice
drink, my belovéd

thy breath's scent is of apples
fragrant wine for me to drink

XXI. Shin

in Ba'al-hamon
Solomon has a vineyard
I keep my vineyard

thou art by the apple tree
many floods cannot quench love


come to me, my love
show thyself as a gazelle
a stag on the hill

sit in my garden, my bride
let me hear thy voice once more