Separation

by Bob Bradshaw
The Writer's Block
Third Place, April 2020
Judged by Terese Coe


Conjoined at the hip and chest,
we were partners in a slow dance.

Though our parents were divorced,
we never knew loneliness.

When talk of separation came up
we looked at each other

the way a pilot and co-pilot
in a piper plane do

when flying at low altitude,
and the engine stalls.

Our parents chatted up the joy
of jumping puddles, and weeks later

I awoke to my brother lying in a bed
next to mine. His full face

clearly seen for the first time.
And when Brady turned his back

and strode the hospital hall without me
I saw my future.

To this day I know when he feels ill–
I take to my bed. And when he’s happy

I’m happy. Brady remains
as close to me as my chest scar.

When I’m sad I run my finger over it
and imagine, again, feeling whole.


With profound ironies on the subject of trauma, wholeness, and independence, this poem also strikes me as somewhat cinematic. The diction is relatively simple and powerful. The final couplet is adept, using negative space to create an explosive epiphany. --Terese Coe

  • 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