It’s a Wonderful Life Brandon

by Sergio Ortiz
The Waters
Second Place, March 2017
Judged by Sara Clancy


It’s a Wonderful Life Brandon
Larry Fobes King “Leticia”
January 13, 1993 – February 13, 2008

What’s up, baby?
It was the step that haunted,
the cold predatory act, the final step,
shards of the glass.

I filled the rooms of this school
with the scent of ghosts,
built the classroom out of Leticia’s sighs,
colored the halls with Larry’s anguish.

In school I wore a uniform
made from screams, like a window
between the cracks of air, or a leak
on its way down the steps of obsession.

“Baby,” the blaze of going to bits,
of keeping guilt and loss at bay,
of two shots in the back of Leticia’s head
the only solution.

The prosecuting attorney
walked through una hojarasca
on the way to her table. Her hair
full of dead, wet leaves. Hallway clatter
declared her ten pounds’ thinner.
The jury, untangling Brandon
and Leticia’s What’s up, baby?
The defense begged jurors leave
their conscience in the hallway,
and it worked.


Difficult to write a poem about a subject like this and not scream at the reader. Difficult to read a poem like this and not just scream. Lines like “I filled the rooms of this school/with the scent of ghosts” and “The prosecuting attorney /walked through una hojarasca/on the way to her table. Her hair/full of dead, wet leaves.” will haunt me. Disturbing, sad and superbly written. --Sara Clancy

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

  • June 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Poem in Exile in the Style of Neruda
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Either February or March
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Accidental Writer
      by Bernard Hamel
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Mouse in April’s Winter
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Sister Valeria
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      My Trip: The Last Siona Dream
      by Don Schaeffer
      Babilu