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

  • 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