Czarny Polewka (Black Soup)

by Emily Brink
The Writer's Block
First Place, April 2009
Judged by Duncan Mercredi


I heard the crack of his boots in the snow.
My heart rabbit-swift because
“No” was under my tongue.
He is a coward blowing his foul kielbasa breath
and weeping to the Beatles.
I knew he would never make a faithful husband.
I watched my mother in the slimness of the dusk
make Black Soup. I watched her chop the duck
and drain its blood. The blood dripped
into a pan, black as all mortal sin.
Next, chopped plums, like a smashed thumb,
color of the priest’s robe on Passion Friday.
A little vinegar and honey together
because every curse contains a blessing.


I especially love the imagery in this piece. My mind attempts to picture the visage of this man but his face keeps changing and I am unable to capture his true face. The memory of the mother also plays into this piece and I am left wondering just what is the author really cooking. Reads beautifully but also leaves one with a sense of danger but not really comprehending what that sense of doom is and I suspect there is more to this piece. --Duncan Mercredi

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block