Hidden Room

by F.H. Lee
The Write Idea
Second Place, October 2018
Judged by Jeanette Beebe


there is a place
in my distant memory
often accessible without
my knowledge or consent
it swamps me still

bug bites
shallow stream
wooden plank bridge
water-spiders for company

my father’s old plastic comb
fine prongs scraping through bushes
of over-ripe elderberries dangling from
branches in cloistered dark purple shadow

stained fingertips for days
an open window with pie on the sill
the unequalled rare aroma
my mother’s satisfaction

the effort
the reward
the lesson


The title "Hidden Room" feels like an echo of "memory palace", a way of imagining how we remember (and keep remembering). The structure of the poem supports this idea: each stanza stands on its own, a distinct fragment, a vignette. The strongest point might be "It swamps me still." Set against the rest of the poem — a lesson in careful, honest description — the phrase is a gesture of confusion. It reverberates through the poem. --Jeanette Beebe

  • 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