Professional Poet Category Winner
bY Judith Roitman
I walk into my tub
and the heron says: Stop! itís night! youíre not supposed to be
Coming down in the
plane the lights look so pretty, but itís just L.A.
The actor playing
the porn star spreads his wings in the publicity photo, Iím not
My husband can
tell you what every star is, but heís not a heron, so what does he
For years Iíve
been walking the dog not knowing that herons were roosting in the
trees right there.
When you see a
heron in a grocery store, be sure to ask.
In dreams I donít
fly, I just walk inconspicuously a few feet above the ground.
Iím not a pelican,
so donít put words in my mouth.
As for moths,
theyíll fly into the night light with the chickens, and thatís the
end of it.
Visiting the Southern Hemisphere
by Laura Lee Washburn, Pittsburg, KS
Everyone here is
worried about the stars:
too many shine bright: thereís extra milky way;
some line up at strange angles. We canít find
the constellations we expect, though we admit,
few of their shapes ever made sense to us.
We expected the ground, the trees and the birds
to spike differently, to curve more sharply,
to branch larger and more extravagantly,
but the sky comes as a shock to some, so
vivid with stars as expected, but surprising
in unfamiliarity, strange as driving
on the left of the road where the ghost
car at your right pushes you near ravines,
pedestrians, bikers, ditches, and streams.
So far, I havenít minded the sky,
havenít worried about the nightís clouds
covering stars we might learn from books.
When one in our company suggested
we lie on our backs in the sun to contemplate
stars we canít see but know to exist,
I said if I canít see them I donít believe
in them, which makes a joke regarding faith-
lessness, but I think it may also be true.
Why should I remember the ice and misery
of home and cold, the grief pressed down
under a breastbone, the long days of office,
sunless, repairs waiting, the pain of breath?
Like the stars in this hemisphere or that,
in daylight waiting for night, they come back,
it comes back. Everything stays and is felt
whether we chose notice, amaze, or worry,
that pocket stone that presses into dreams,
the new planet whose light blankets dim stars.
Nonprofessional Poet Category Winner
strolling along the winding path
hoping to beat the heat of a July day,
lost in my own troubled thoughts when
eyes sensed before actually seeing.
erect, preening by the waterís edge.
Me, cautious, moving toward you closing the gap
Each, studying the otherís intent,
your long neck cocking from side to side to find
the best position for observation.
As I neared, your tension mounted, a raised foot,
wings twitched, still you stayed.
As if connected,
we honored each
otherís presence, shared a moment in time.
With a final look and a single flap of wings, you lifted
off the ground and elegantly glided away.
Oh, great blue heron,
my troubled thoughts flew away with you.
by Donna Lynn Lash Wolff, Kansas City
The night called
out to me and
I stepped barefoot into her evening beauty.
My hair was unbound in the dark breeze and as
I walked my garden became a misted paradise.
covered the arbor in green tangles with white
balloon-skin blossoms larger than my outstretched hand.
on blurred wings, tongues drawn to their
The earth and I, both young again, together beneath the
forgiving moon and shadowed sky.
In that moment, you werenít far away; and you still missed me.
The stars above had coaxed the buds below to open and shine
in a matching, diamond-mirror constellation.
When morning came
and wilted casings littered the ground
like spent shells, I knew the beauty had not been lost,
for it had traveled straight to my heart and
the Milky Way.