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

  • November 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Rapture
      by JJ Wiliamson
      Babilu

      Second Place (tie)

      Red Spider Lilies
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place (tie)

      The Big House At Mambalam
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place (tie)

      What Have I Done to Thee O Muse
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place (tie)

      World Affairs
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Morning
      by Mary MacGowan
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      A Can of Grandma Figlioto’s Pasta Sauce
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

  • October 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      We Could Use an American
      by Mignon Ariel King
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Dante’s Outer Circles
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Time of Move
      by RC James
      Babilu