The Snow Angel

by Laurie Byro
Babilu
Third Place, May 2014
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


My father, who dies on the longest night of the year, returns
a month later, somehow fifty three years old, a wild-eyed charmer,
to tell me that the dead aren’t worrying about the living, that

each snow flake falling, is a wish spoken before it hits the earth.
I am half awake, I rub my eyes. He stamps the porch, begging
for a decent cup of coffee, saying he has no rest for all those wishes,

no sleep for all those mad-rushes to pull us safely
to the curb. I am skeptical. I hand him his coffee: milk, no sugar.
He has that sheepish grin, that wolf-sure twinkle. “Tell me

you aren’t disappointed dad, show me how you know
it’s all ok.” He guffaws his coffee. “I would sleep like the dead.
Instead, I have dervis-toddlers, toothless men. Mostly I have you.

Lighten up, they say, winter’s my busy season.” I blink, his cup
is empty, I was about to make us tea. His shoes wait by his empty bed,
good-will is coming next month. Each day I walk through a forest

with somebody’s name carved on a tree. All winter, during long
feathery nights, wishes swirl round the house, falling
on the neighborhood, on the chimneys while we sleep.


A late night ghostly appearance by a recently deceased parent could be the signal for angst and recriminations, tears and turmoil. In “The Snow Angel” it becomes a wistfully funny visitation by a busy, thirsty dad checking on his kid-- “My father, who dies on the longest night of the year, returns/a month later, somehow fifty three years old…”, to explain why he’s been gone, “he has no rest for all those wishes,/no sleep for all those mad-rushes to pull us safely/to the curb.” They have a cheerful, consoling chat over coffee and the father is gone, back to working wishes—“during long/ feathery nights, wishes swirl round the house, falling/on the neighborhood, on the chimneys while we sleep.” --R.T. Castleberry

  • 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