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

  • 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
      Babliu

  • 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