Eating Crow

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
First Place, November 2011
Judged by Nathalie Handal


After Reading Ted Hughes

A Devon autumn chases ghosts down alleys, Shura
should have been our lost baby, the one flowering

from the toilet the day you crumpled your face, pasty-
white like the old hive, resurrected with blue-heart eyes.

I was Prospero. I was Caliban. I was the filthy-nailed
stand in for Daddy. Already, my tongue bled lies, my dick—

thick with honey, my vows of wild-escape. It was I who
bought you your Taroc pack. I, who taught you the plays

of Shakespeare, you only knew three before we met. That holy
number, that trinity of failed marriage—three meant

a witch has entered the sky. You invited her in, you dreamt
her real and she appeared, asleep like a princess-hag

in a pike’s drunken eye. The wild earth wanted you back,
with all its cunning fox-holes, its voices lulling you to sleep

under the deep sighs of the house. A weasel-gypsy caught
you with her icicle fingers, calling you out of our sweet honey

moon sleep. She declared you dead: borrowed entirely by me,
not quite blue. Sycorax lured you to her brothy-bridal

cauldron. Still you finished each poem, each postcard.
You filled each terracotta pot with earth and all your favorite

flowers. But it is Shura who makes her silent howl
while the moon fills, plump with its leaking mother’s milk.

It is Shura who grasps her rag-button dolls, clutching
them to her chest like a crone-woman suckling a dead baby.


Hypnotic. Yet it is death that lingers here. Death roams life. And life the corridors of a small hell. And pain is a poem you have to finish. But this poem will never finish – its breaths endless in our minds. --Nathalie Handal

  • 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