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

  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

  • November 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Radium Girls
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
      The Waters