Fragile

by Kendall Witherspoon
The Waters
Second Place, June 2019
Judged by Melissa Studdard


After making love, she whispered
in my ear the start of his name.
We both ignored it, like it was
a mediocre glass of red wine, or
a fly on the bedroom window.

I thought it didn’t bother me,
together five years, almost,
but our life still fragile as a tomato
plant rushed to the April garden.
Later planting purple lettuce,

both of us tried to erase the slip
with the soil and sun we loved.
I had to, in my smart ass way,
ask if she knew I was not him.
She came to me, squatted

in the row, held my weak hand
and said I love you, and only
you. You believe that, right?
And I know she said you, but
I heard his name three times.


Operating within a beautiful economy of language, “Fragile” says so much and employs such fitting, easy-to-digest similes. By leaving out extended context, the poet creates an especially powerful last stanza that primes the reader to not want to believe the lover. This makes the last line, regardless of what is actually in the lover’s heart, ring like an incantation to truth. --Melissa Studdard

  • September 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Houses
      by Ken Ashworh
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Algernon Charles Swinburne
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Arbeit Macht Frei Inc.
      by Jim Fowler
      Babilu

  • August 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Chanticleer
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Last Game of the Season
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      The Fine Print of Rescue
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum