Today I Was Her Dad Though Tonight She Asks Me Where The Man Is Who Raked Leaves

by Billy Howell-Sinnard
The Writer's Block
Highly Commended, May 2010
Judged by Fiona Sampson


She got out of bed today.
I asked her to help me
in the yard, surprised
that she said yes.
She raked ulu leaves
into a pile of crumbling
softball mitts.
After five minutes, she tired,
sat in the lawn chair
examining her fingernails
as if other worlds
brood at the gnawed edges,
which she does when she’s not
rubbing her bed for hours
like the Eskimos do
when they rub clockwise
one stone against another
waiting for a vision.
Home Boy jumped on her lap,
coaxed her red-blotched,
dried, and flaking hand
from out of its sleeve
to scratch behind his ear.
She was no longer Rosie
or Sarah, or unable to answer,
or the forty year old
daughter with no name.
She thanked me
for helping her in the yard.


A good, clean delivery of a straightforward, well-balanced poem, almost religious in its clarity. This material could so easily have been saccharine in less-experienced hands. --Fiona Sampson

  • November 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Hope Springs Like a Panther from a Large Boulder Overhead
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Lullaby
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Love Story
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

  • October 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      The Day of a Girl
      by John Riley
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Night Thoughts of a Mottled Songbird
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      The Art of Not Being Descartes
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum