The Sandwich Hour

by Yolanda Calderon-Horn
New Cafe
Second Place, May 2007
Judged by Bryan Appleyard


Eyes draw a horizon on mine.

There’s a hint of sweet tobacco

breaking away from his aftershave,

scurrying down the nook of my nose.

“Mind if I join you?”

Do I mind?

I do and don’t.

But how do I explain with one

hour for bellies to restock?

“Let’s go.”

We head out of the office

onto a sunlit runner.

All the while we’re touching

on summer camp for the kids

and European cruises versus

cleaning gutters on vacation.

There’s an unoccupied table

under the pink crown of a redbud

tree. We sit. I cross my legs.

Topics are sustained with mid

drone voices: the dream of being

invisible; how he almost became

a vegan; why people marry,

(I uncross my legs) and divorce.

It is moments away until

the hour- One round hour,

like a corkscrew begins to top the wine.

I finish my soft drink- let ice chips

skate down my throat. We get up

to leave when he reaches over to me,

but pulls back as if I’m a stove

whose burners are turned to high.

“You have an eyelash on your cheek.”

Fig. There’s fig in his aftershave.


A very simple idea very well executed. This is a narrative poem, a story turned into verse with the lightest of touches, a delicacy that reflects the tentative anxieties of the encounter. --Bryan Appleyard

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters

  • October 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The Emails Go Unanswered
      by Lois P. Jones
      PenShells

      Second Place

      Hidden Room
      by F.H. Lee
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      The Penitent
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Honorable Mention

      You Can Call Me a Tough Cookie, But It Really Doesn’t Matter
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum