The Unfinished Ice Cream

by John Wilks
The Write Idea
Second Place, September 2011
Judged by Tyehimba Jess


Our first glimpse of the sea was of a dark
expanse, as flat as an asphalt playground.
The sun left yellow chalkmarks, roughly scuffed
by the cold steel blakeys of winter wind.
She leaned on the concrete wall: a defence
built after the floodtide of fifty-three
and spoke of her brother, who drowned when she
was still floating, safe in her mother’s womb.
The arcades were empty, the kiosks shut.
Dust gathered on last year’s bingo prizes.
No children on the swings that creaked with rust.
The sea looked the same as in black-and-white
photos of a grinning boy in swimming
trunks who would never finish his ice cream.


A poet that respects the sonnet enough to test its limits. Great alliteration while maintaining a focus on bringing the reader through to the end, with the sea yearning in and out of the body. --Tyehimba Jess

  • March 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      September Heat
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      At the Cancer Center
      by Terry Ofner
      The Waters

      Third Place

      At Last Ghazal
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Died Last Fall
      by ieuan ap hywel
      The Writer's Block

  • February 2022 Winners

    • First Place

      Grand Central Station
      by Christine Potter
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Back Stage
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      VFW
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Writer's Block