Somewhere in Our Past

by Billy Howell-Sinnard
The Waters
Third Place, June 2012
Judged by Shara McCallum


I hold the sky in my hands.
It is a snake that terrifies
yet bewitches me,

undulating over the earth
of my palms,
the worship of my fingers.

There is no end to it.
A stillness in its movement
where space could reside.

The tongue is a flickering of stars.
Its eyes are cold planets.
Its hiss is the language of suns.


The only “telling” moment in this poem is the title. Relying solely on an extended metaphor (the sky as a snake), the poem only suggests what “our past” means to the speaker now. The fact that the poem is surreal in its use of metaphor creates the feeling that the speaker is unmoored, even without the poem locating this sentiment in a narrative back story. The keen diction and phrasing throughout the poem aid, as well, in establishing the tone. The line I am drawn to again and again is, “the worship of my fingers,” but there are many others I might single out as well: the poem is a tour-de-force regarding its use of the image. --Shara McCallum

  • 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