Goldback Fern

by Bob Bradshaw
The Writer's Block
Second Place, February 2018
Judged by C. Wade Bentley


Under bay laurels we looked up
at insects flitting

through a lemony light.
In the distance sunlit clouds

brushed the grassy hills blond,
the way the goldback fern’s underside

leaves behind a yellow dusting.
You pressed one against my jeans,

a golden handprint on my right thigh.
We lingered, hiking slowly,

the moist fingers of ferns
stroking our wrists,

our arms. With narrow trails
I found easy excuses to brush

against you, carrying your scent
home with me.


I’m a sucker for a poet who wows me with close observation, who makes me see old things as new. Sex is heavy in the air, here, but it’s handled delicately, it’s understated, alighting on us as lightly as pollen. --C. Wade Bentley

  • November 2021 Winners

    • First Place

      Cycling Across t’Bridge
      by Ieaun ap Hywel
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Now Hear the Word of the Lord
      by Jim Zola
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Opening the Letter
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Help Wanted
      by Mary MacGowan
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Ode to a Hummingbird
      by RC James
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Sizing Up
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

  • October 2021 Winners

    • First Place (Tie)

      Anna and the Scourge
      by RC James
      Babilu

      First Place (Tie)

      Mother Banana
      by Christina Vanthul
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Neighbors
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum