Lakeside - 1948
He stares into the lake. Its depth
so shallow, clear inverted cypress tips
interlace with moss-slick bottom rocks,
swaying milfoil, burnished cattails.
Propped near him, parting grass
absently with her toes, his sister
pulls at her paints, splashes pigment
on discarded apple crates he discovered
in the orchard. She dabs color
on boards, her legs, the grass.
He listens, watches the water,
scans the orchard. Their silence
shelters itself in the outbursts of
crows marking spirals around a nest
of cowbirds. At their mother's call,
his life lapses into a rippled blur.
from GW Review, Fall 2008
-- Toni L Wilkes
Light as a Particle, as a Wave
Daubs of dove grey for her hair.
Deep-lake blue for the shadows beneath her eyes,
hollow of her cheeks,
and for the sweater I bring her to wear
over the hospital gown.
Her mouth breaks open as if to yawn in the new day,
but, no, she whispers and I press down to hear.
I'd rather be at the shore, she says,
Large hat, picnic spread on the cloth,
crumbs of bread and bits of orange rind.
All the women dots of color under shade trees.
The men stand dressed in black and white,
talk about their wives
as if they were children.
The sounds they make are round and dark.
This would be before their own babies were born.
Before the complications.
All the bouquets in thick, oily brush strokes,
swaths of melted color
make up for what's
missing from her skin.
Ranuncula-red, rose-bud pink.
Her bruised hands crossed upon the coverlet
as if she had already passed.
Vertical of a door, never locked,
cotton dividers not drawn,
horizontal grey for bed rails.
That wisteria wallpaper,
sweeps of lavender and purple, no barrier
to lives lived or left in adjoining rooms.
I arch over her like a rainbow,
wipe her face with the edge of a flannel blanket.
The nurse pulls aside heavy window curtains.
White drowns every corner of the room.
We are blind.
- Grand Prize Winner of the 2008
Ina Coolbrith Circle Annual Poetry Contest
-- Rafaella Del Bourgo