How to Turn a Mountain into a Molehill

by Greta Bolger
The Waters
Second Place, May 2014
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


You can be sure that the conflict
in his mind is framed much differently
than in yours. To him, you’ve dropped
a leaking radiator, still hot, on his head.
To you, you accidentally switched off the light

while he was reading. Clearly a molehill.
You play a violin in your head,
consider packing up for a night or two
in a motel. The chill, the silence is exhausting.
Snow covers the skylights in the bedroom.

Eventually, short sentences return, followed by
an in-depth review of your crime and its necessary
punishment. Sharp-clawed creatures can live
in a dark tunnel for days, pawing at dirt.
Finally, someone remembers the goal.

There are just the two of us here.
We are too old to climb mountains.
Together, we gather up the fine soil
of the molehill and use it to fertilize the garden.

No need to kill the moles after all.


I believe it was Georgia O’Keefe who said, “People change and forget to tell each other.” How To Turn… is a sharp, bedtime look at a brutally difficult marriage (To him, you’ve dropped/a leaking radiator, still hot, on his head./To you, you accidentally switched off the light/while he was reading.) as one on the participants starts to change. The wife considers what move to make to break the tension (You play a violin in your head,/consider packing up for a night or two/in a motel.), endures the recounting of her offense (Eventually, short sentences return/followed by/an in-depth review of (her) crime…) and decides that reconciliation, however enabling for him, is best: Finally, someone remembers the goal./There are just two of us here. However, it’s clear that it’s not “someone” but the wife who has gained the greater wisdom in their marriage. And it is she who will, ever so subtly, shape its direction in the future. --R.T. Castleberry

  • April 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      (how to lose at) Kimberly’s Game
      by John Wilks
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      A Legacy of Sorts
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Waiting for a bus at Armarnath Temple
      by Ieuan ap Hywel
      The Wriiter's Block

  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum