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

  • January 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      How the Wind Works
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Sleep Walker
      by Brenda Levy Tate
      PenShells

      Third Place

      The Woman Who Grew up in My House Finds Me on Facebook and Comes to Take a Look Around
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters