Unmarked Grave

by Lois P. Jones
Pen Shells
First Place, February 2008
Judged by Fleda Brown


All I want is a single hand,
A wounded hand if that is possible.

–Federico Garcia Lorca

Beautiful man, with your brows of broken ashes
and eyes that migrate in winter,

a hollow in your hand
where the moon fell through.

I could have kissed your mouth,
passed an olive with my tongue,
the aftertaste of canaries on our breath.

But the shriek of the little hour
is spent, and there is no road back.

The day it happened
there were no good boys
or dovecots filled with virgins,

just a sun imploding
like a sack of rotten oranges,

the scent of basil
from the grove near your home
and the piano that still waits for you.

No one will remember
the coward who shot you,
but the sheets,

the white sheets you sail on,
coming home.


I'm drawn to this poem from the first line--the "brows of broken ashes"--and continue to be delighted and surprised line after line by the fresh metaphors. This poem is all poem. It holds me aloft in its language. The death of Federico Garcia Lorca is made present, a "sun imploding/ like a sack of rotten oranges." I can only quote lines from this fine poem, which deserves not to be rendered into prose. The poem's ending is brilliant, "but the sheets,/ the white sheets you sail on, / coming home." How much more perfect can an ending be, for Lorca, and for us? --Fleda Brown

  • August 2017 Winners

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      Second Place

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      Third Place

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      Honorable Mention

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      Second Place

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      Honorable Mention

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      Honorable Mention

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      by Paul A. Freeman
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      Honorable Mention

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      by Sylvia Evelyn
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      Honorable Mention

      celebrating the 45th anniversary of Father’s Day
      by Michael Virga
      The Writer's Block