by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, July 2010
Judged by Ruth Ellen Kocher

My mother’s bones served a purpose. Grounded
by all that brittle history, a desert coyote’s need
to lie down among sage, to strike a flinty spark,

a lather-talk inside a kettle of blue. Sand, grass,
flower-sky. An interesting canvas, or so we’ve been
taught. A veiny handed hag sleeps out with young

boys. Strange ghost-tumbleweeds rifle through
her thoughts. Father, she threatens rain. A scorpion
retracts its tail to sting. I don’t remember puppy dogs

or snakes. There is salt left behind on a varnished
gin-mill counter, pretzels twisted like my poor
old man’s back. There is a glinty fang-moon howling

through the desert night. A father’s hand, veined
like that, holds up a turtle knowing nothing can beat
the day out of him, not a tire’s wheel, not the sun

that’s burned clear through to his belly. Silently
we hunker down to drag their bones away. Silently,
they beg us to stay, sing our feeble praises.

Bone-Song" utilizes an interesting conflation of lyric narrative with a disrupted narrative. The transformation of the concrete subject of the title immediately transcends the reader's expectation of an uninterrupted trajectory of image, story, song, or subject. The writer especially navigates the use of contiguous relationships at the end of the poem with great skill, drawing the reader into an ending that arrives through implication rather than assertion. The poems resonates most in these last lines as the poem showcases an adept understanding of lyric subtlety. --Ruth Ellen Kocher

  • January 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      You Arrive Like Fall, Suddenly
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Waiting for the Second Coming
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      by J.J. Williamson

      Honorable Mention

      When I Go Out and Then Come Back
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • December 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      The Abandoned Woman
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Taking a Tumble
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea