Homeless

by J.J. Williamson
Babilu
Third Place, January 2018
Judged by C. Wade Bentley


The tiny mouse that lived inside
my dry stone wall is petrified.
Her body couldn’t bear the frost
and there she lies, preserved and lost,
inside my dry stone wall.

The pygmy shrew that found a heap
of brittle leaves falls sound asleep.
The snuffling mite consumed his last
then snuggled down to face his fast
inside the heap of leaves.

The jenny wren that settled in
the ivy quilt is plume and skin.
Her shivering frame has acquiesced
because she hadn’t built a nest
inside the ivy quilt.

The feral cat that prowls around
my broken fence slips on the ground.
The frozen earth defies his claw
and winter’s knives have sliced his paw
around my broken fence.

Now I sit in my cozy house
to think about the tiny mouse,
the shrew, the wren and feral cat
then place some balls of grain and fat
outside my cozy house.


I always admire a poet who can pull off a heavily-rhymed poem without making it feel heavy. The enjambment breaks up the iambic tetrameter, the rhymes are clever and fresh, so that we have a strong pulse pulling us through the stanzas, and yet the danger of doggerel, that sing-songy quality, is side-stepped beautifully. “The jenny wren that settled in”—lovely. --C. Wade Bentley

  • February 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      Grand Central Station
      by Christine Potter
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Back Stage
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      VFW
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block

  • January 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      Glint
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Chicago
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Training to Be a Star
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      Chewing the Fat
      by James Fletcher
      The Waters