My Neighbor, Only a Name On a Mailbox

by Bernard Henrie
The Waters
Highly Commended, April 2010
Judged by Fiona Sampson


Margaret Yamasaki dyed her hair seaweed color.
In the right light and a few miles an hour of wind
she appears to swim toward me, to come landward,
a water postman, eerie mop of hair waving
in semaphore code.

I imagine sea water beaded in her eyelashes
as she effortlessly swims the Pacific breakers.

Later, she leaves the beach and turns to look
at an old man, a silver porpoise almost metallic
with a backstroke.

At that distance she cannot see my smile
or that I am busy at invisible controls, a pilot
in a cockpit I hope to avert any disaster
she might encounter and to fix all bets
for happiness in her favor.


Highly commended for a great image – “In the right light and a few miles an hour of wind / she appears to swim towards me” – and for the interesting idea, in the last stanza, that the observer is at the controls. --Fiona Sampson

  • May 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      I think of the colour purple
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Swimming in Twilight
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      In another country with strangers
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

  • April 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Furiously Overcome by Stars
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Ides of March
      by Rachel Green
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Natural History
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters