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

  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • February 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Nebraska, Summer
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Goldback Fern
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Negotiatin’ Wi Demons (For wee Rabbie Burns)
      by John J. Williamson
      PenShells