An almost kiss

by Henry L. Shifrin
Wild Poetry Forum
First Place, October 2012
Judged by Polina Barskova


This little man, an inch or so under five feet, his scalp–
a sea of scalloped skin–closes his eyes as a shadow
of nurse passes. The passing is like a long, high branch’s
sweep. She loosens the downy strap of his robe and from

his shoulders a feather seems to circle down. His taut, urine
skin—skin pulling in the ribs to show—is moon to the naked
bulbs above. A smell of shit, shorts that must be
washed—a flavor of regret the fan blows. His flabby fingertip of cock

seems to have no mind to harden when her breasts press
against his face. She scrubs his back. Then looks at her watch, places
a hand under his chin, tilts his head so she can see into his eyes.
His lips curl as if to pucker; no, only a facial tremor. A smile.


Enjoyable combination of crudeness of the subject and gentleness of the gaze expressed through the intensity of details: there is a very active, insistent, and compassionate eye at work here. Also, very curious approach to laughter, the poem makes one grin--though with somber, sober melancholy. --Polina Barskova

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Dr. Pachango’s Mango
      by Jim Fowler
      Babliu

  • November 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Notorious RBG
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

      Second Place

      To My Old Age
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Beggar’s Lice
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block