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

  • 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