1432 South Limestone Street

by Shawn Nacona Stroud
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, August 2016
Judged by Lee Nash


The whoosh of traffic shifts to the ringing silence
of indifference. I surrender it along with reality, step
up from the sidewalk just like as a boy—
inch toward a house now as aged as I am.

Its white paint has flaked
away like the sun-baked skin
of a Marlboro-smoking snowbird. It’s
all meat and bones these days, and yet

I pass the same overgrown aesculus blitzing
our lawn with buckeyes; the descendants
of long-ago squirrels flit across grass
cleverly avoiding its bitter offerings—

they know what poisons are rooted here.
I remember the fear of this plot, how
once I looked out from that window
now blackened as an emptied eye socket.

Through glass I would admire birds with names
I’d never heard of, charcoal angels—
I loved how they could always rise above
this penury. I wonder as I gaze inside

at hollowed spaces of my childhood
if that little boy is peering out; curtains
a cloak from all the rages of those rooms.


This poem effectively captures that strange feeling of disorientation when returning to a place we once knew so well. The stark imagery, for instance "that window / now blackened as an emptied eye socket," "birds with names / I’d never heard of, charcoal angels" and word choices like "bitter" and "poison" suggest an unpacking of a painful past; we watch from the sidelines as the years dissolve and childhood memories return. --Lee Nash

  • May 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      No One Here Is Dreaming
      by John Riley
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Lot’s Daughters
      by Shawn Nacona Stroud
      Desert Moon Review

      Third Place

      Perhaps This
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Let No Man
      by Laura Ring
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Smiling at a Hotel Bar Window
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      Seven Years in Laredo
      by Kendall Witherspoon
      The Waters

  • April 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Roasting
      by Marilyn Francis
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      The Sorrow of Hearts
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Dancing at Midnight
      by E. Russell Smith
      The Write Idea

      Honorable Mention

      Silver Bed Head
      by Laurie Byro
      PenShells

      Honorable Mention

      The Little Loss
      by Dorothy Doyle Mienko
      PenShells