First Frost

by Christopher T. George
FreeWrights Peer Review
Second Place, January 2009
Judged by Elena Karina Byrne


A last ochre magnolia leaf twitches
like the index finger of a dying man;

under the ginkgo, yellow leaves spread
& all the birds are in motion, swooping,

diving: robins, starlings, cardinals,
a brace of cheeky blue jays—o one vaults

into the magnolia like a trapeze
artiste and devours a bud.


"First Frost" is a Buddhist-like, automatopoetic polaroid view of nature, targeting our vulnerability of perennial-impermanence where a magnolia leaf "twitches like the index finger of a dying man." The use of assonance and subtle end rhyme keep the poem beautifully close-fisted, bud-like, ready to be devoured. --Elena Karina Byrne

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  • January 2018 Winners

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      You Arrive Like Fall, Suddenly
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      Second Place

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      Third Place

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      Honorable Mention

      When I Go Out and Then Come Back
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