Fountain

by Douglas Hill
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, May 2008
Judged by Patricia Smith


I recall the spiral down the spit-fountain
in my father’s dental chamber: I leaned
too long over the sucking shiny throat,
stalled, steeling against my return to
his adept hands wielding instruments
that would drill precisely into my fault.

I lay back dry mouthed on that baroque
black barbershop chair, as if for a trim,
scissors on the sides; resigned to the rest,
longing for a sip of water, some respite.
He turned secretively as he would in
the kitchen to decant a tumbler of scotch.

The pestle riffed a hard hissing mantra:
he urged it against the mortar, mixing
the mystic silver-mercury amalgam;
then into me flooded the moment of bonding
more intimate than thirst:
his soft warm fingers in my mouth.


I'm the dictionary definition of a daddy's girl, and this gentle poem--so full of specific detail, yet at its center a tender and intense moment between father and child--hit me right in the heart. --Patricia Smith

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
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      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
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      by Christopher T. George
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      Third Place

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      Second Place

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      The Waters

      Third Place

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      The Writer's Block