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

  • October 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      The Day of a Girl
      by John Riley
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Night Thoughts of a Mottled Songbird
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      The Art of Not Being Descartes
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • September 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Rodent Ulcer
      by Jude Goodwin
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Wild Beasts
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      The Two Windows of My Room
      by Sivakami Velliangiri
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Giving Thanks
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum