Noon Witches

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Third Place, October 2014
Judged by Philip Belcher


For Samantha and Rachel Maynard

To know my deed, ‘twere best not know myself. Macbeth

I am a crone, my girls know it’s true. We are the witches from Macbeth
I am the ancient who mutters gutturals, they are young enough to hum
labials. I try to explain to them, who are unaware of death, that

in the end, my father was my son. I fill the car with tears for
my absent father. On the sidewalk, heat rises from white cement
and I quote “round about the cauldron go.” My borrowed children

look at me strangely while poking through the bargains on
the table in front of each store. Nothing is perfect, there are flowered
bowls with chips, dog-eared journals. There are lovely paper angels

whose wings have lost some glitter. I point out the velvet masks
from New Orleans, one has a rhinestone owl. I try to talk them
into something that will last, not a latte or salt water taffy.

The summer after my father dies, I have the day on a leash.
The heat and light swirl over me, catching me pink. I am a moth caught
inside a nautilus shell. Ghosts have trapped me in a shankha in their garden.


This poem takes its cue from Macbeth to explore familial relationships and grief. Particularly absorbing are the poet’s use of the craft elements of music, detail, and imagery. Short “u” sounds tie the poem together: “mutters,” “gutturals,” “cauldron,” “children,” and more. The mystery of the “borrowed children” is never completely resolved, and that’s a strength of the poem. Not everything has to be explained. Specificity is helpful, too; the “rhinestone owl” helps the reader believe in the speaker’s voice. It is clear that the poet is working to consider things “that will last” as she or he contemplates the father’s death. Particularly exciting were the images of having “the day on a leash” and the “moth caught inside a nautilus shell.” I am envious of those. --Philip Belcher

  • 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