November’s Window

by Brenda Levy Tate
PenShells
Third Place, December 2015
Judged by Barbara Siegel Carlson


Not for me the crisp lace,
sheers afloat on fall air,
pale drapes full of cool drafts.
My view is naked and open;
I need fear no evil beyond
these frames that raindamp
rinses clear.

I hang no curtains over glass –
nothing to mute sunrise,
noon, the awe-full flare
aiming in. Beams burn my prayer
plant, stigmatize its folded
leaves. Truth scars what it
touches.

Sparrows and jays debate;
I lipread through the panes.
Feathers catch in hedge webs –
ivory, buff, charcoal, cobalt.
Squirrels and canny starlings
peruse each other, songbirds,
and me.

Muntin shadows reach out,
lay crosses on my arms.
Thorny limbs wear barberries
bright as lovers’ wounds.
Birches unroll bark in strips
like bandages. I can hear
the world bleeding.


Fresh, sensual language brings out a sharpened and deepened view of the natural world through the un-curtained window. The arc goes from inside to out as well as from physical to divine further sensitizing us to the world’s beauty and pain that is its reality. --Barbara Siegel Carlson

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      Honorable Mention

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