2018 Poetry

FIRST PRIZE

Lake Huron, 1989                                                                                   by Natalie Tomlin

It's not easy to name oblivion, even under fluorescent lights, where discounted throw

pillows and wooden placards bantered like bar flies: It's always happy hour at the lake.

Peace, Love, Sandy Feet.  Don't be crabby, you're at the beach.  At age nine, I pleaded the

fifth, placed my hand on my heart and plunged, counted bangles of blood thrumming in

my ear drums.  Memories made at the lake last a lifetime.  My hair was seaweed brushing

rocks, their muted colors suddenly brilliant and only the hum of power boats, faraway

click of stones, or thunder pushed from my nose reminded me that I belonged upward,

where beach houses fringed the beach with their walls of windows. I'd rather be lost at

the beach than found at home. Those cool windows, unblinking eyes of fish.  They didn't

seem to notice that I had arrived.

SECOND PRIZE

March in the Keewenaw             by Ruth Moerdyk

Torn between seasons,

lakes shake free of ice.

But sill

in a sheltered bay men fish from pickup trucks.

A quarter mile out, they trust winter -

its strong-frozen endurance.

Crocuses?

Not under the pines hanging low,

shading snow,

anxious for new nests.

Light-struck branches

bare against a blue sky.

Songbird soon.

Today hear the unbound waters.

Spring Thaw, by Judith Scott  (detail)

THIRD PRIZE

Dystopia                         by Johanna Lozano

I return to you, my great lake, too late

when even the invaders are carcass,

twisted in driftwood, graveyard gray.

As much of you fogged the sky

as decays in your wasting basin.

Oil foams brown on your shore.

Nothing is left but death and synthetic

wilted birthday balloons, purple plastic

soda cup buckets, styrofoam shoes.

I lift the broken bottom of a green glass bottle

up to cold sun to remember when we were young

to tint the earth its color of birth, recall it green,

when in spring, the trees would bud,

yellow-rumped warblers sing.

My bare feet were warmed smooth

on birch steps up the dune.

Your mounded back laughed

as I ran my fingertips past your grass.

The crest felt like an open page,

so I rolled my story north to you.

You were every shade God made

of blue, wrapped in rainbow rock.

The painted edge of my whole world.

I would use the word bathe

to enter you, drenched in sunset.

But now you are bathed

in Beethoven's moonlight.

You have turned into cold ankle heartache,

into ash sucking sand, the sound in empty end

of the last raven's caw.  Abandoned.

I am sorry for my silence.

I am sorry I felt discarding you was best.

I am sorry to find so little of you left.

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