No One Here Is Dreaming

by John Riley
The Waters
First Place, May 2017
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


There should be a window and an ocean
with arch-fingered waves.
A cold fireplace drawing no shadows on the ceiling.
Lying on your back carves a vision of the stone—
a continent of letters and numbers moves closer.
You fold the image in half to toss on the fire,
remember there are no flames.

The pillow is wet. You turn your head to a new resting place
on the edge of a lake.
Water the color of lodestone laps your face.
At the top of your vision is an island.
Three deer eat the low-hanging leaves.
The birds have moved on.
You try to determine the season but deliberation topples.
A gray sky begins to sink.
The deer, the island, the lake, become fog.


Regret and sleeplessness deliver a beautifully surreal movie. --R.T. Castleberry

  • March 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      September Heat
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      At the Cancer Center
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Third Place

      At Last Ghazal
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Died Last Fall
      by ieuan ap hywel
      The Writer's Block

  • 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