O be Joyful

by Judy Swann
The Waters
Honorable Mention, February 2010
Judged by Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar


That July, rectangular, he crept backwards.
He loved the mats of purslane on August
earth, where he lay his face,

and Nikka, the German Shepard,
not mutual, and by December with tin
ear, burbled to the gamelon.

At three, suddenly verbal, he claimed
to love me 92 olds and 47 pounds.
I love you he said, 32 – 14 – 7 hours.

He loved my eye and my other eye,
loved his father’s lymphoma’s nodes,
kissed them and said, Now we’re set.

I taught him to say Je t’adore,
which he pronounced “Such a Joe.”
Don’t go, he told me, Such a Joe, Mother.



  • 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