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

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

  • June 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Poem in Exile in the Style of Neruda
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Either February or March
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Accidental Writer
      by Bernard Hamel
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Mouse in April’s Winter
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Sister Valeria
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      My Trip: The Last Siona Dream
      by Don Schaeffer
      Babilu