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

  • 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
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  • 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