WHAT I FORGOT TO SAY

What I forgot to say

was that you were right.
The coldest day of the year is not the time
to bring home a puppy, but we did it, again.

Your advice is not so much ignored
as it is remembered inconveniently late in irrevocable situations.
This makes it prophecy of the awkward Cassandra type,
or the kind that you can only read in the bird’s entrails after it stops twitching.

You have been right, all along,

that I dream of being at the end of stacks of laundry or grading or dishes
as if they were dreams of falling from a great height where it is important to wake up
before discovering a blank surface

that there are mornings when I do not recognize the curve of my husband’s back
turned away from me in the sun slicing through the curtain
and days when I forget the color of my own eyes

that the memory of the well-loved dead is a phantom hand, long amputated,
still holding a remembered glass of wine which I absent-mindedly bring to my lips

far too often.

Listen, what I forgot to say—
there is an immature downy woodpecker
in the small woods where the dog and I walk.
I have seen him creeping down the side of the dead tree,
head cocked, listening for life beneath the bark.

Yesterday, we stopped for the booming thwock of bird skull against wood,
she on point, and I scanning for a flash of red against the gray sky, the dark gray trees.
The clamor came from nowhere and everywhere,
but we found the bird hiding in its own echo.

about the author
Amy Drees misses her last real writer’s group that met in Piqua, Ohio, many years ago. She now teaches constantly, and writes infrequently in the colder, flatter north of the state.

SOOT

When the demo crew went to work
on the burnt-out building,
the scent of soot was released
upon Main Street like spores,
reminding drivers-by of
a century of bones between brick walls.

The soot held the sweat of the pawn shop
owner, waking, haunted by
stories in his storefront below.
The fur of twelve cats fed that one last
time by the body of the old lady herself.
The spit of a black couple evicted
for walking too hard on their own floors.
The cigarette smoke, burnt toast
smack grit, Aqua Net,
Pine-Sol, Love’s Baby Soft,
bong smoke, bacon grease.

Trucks smashed and rumbled heaps into
other trucks that rumbled it all away
to where I don’t know, but soot
lingers there awaiting scrubbing
and a second chance at
holding somethings together.

about the author
A lifelong Ohioan, Kerry Trautman is a founder/admin of ToledoPoet.com and The Toledo Poetry Museum page on Facebook. She participates in events such as Artomatic 419, Back To Jack, and The Columbus Arts Festival, and she is a poetry editor for Red Fez. Her work has appeared previously in Mock Turtle Zine, as well as in Midwestern GothicAlimentum, The Coe Review, and several other journals and anthologies. Her chapbook To Have Hoped is available from Finishing Line Press. Her chapbook Artifacts, is forthcoming from NightBallet Press in 2017.

DAILY

Daily, I twist a valve and let my serotonin flow out onto the floor, an emotional biohazard.
Daily, I brush my teeth but refuse to make eye contact with the foaming rictus in the mirror.
Daily, I take an obscenely cold shower and stand in the jets until I feel completely numb.
Daily, I’ll drive into town, my consumer therapy, and buy something outlandish.
Daily, I water the rosemary on my window sill and feel tired.
Every morning, I wake up to a new ceiling.

about the author
Andrew Ellis is annoying, infuriating, agitating, provoking, engaging, encouraging, and all the things that make a person interesting. His work has appeared in TeenInk, Common Threads, and Ink, Sweat, & Tears (forthcoming). His photography has appeared in Photographer’s Forum. He lives in Ohio, and survives primarily off of Mountain Dew and peanut butter M&Ms.

SISTER

Sister, there’s a song in the pipes.
The discordant whistling that sings of aeons forgotten.
Can’t you hear the Breath?

Sister, they’ve always been with us.
The words of those that came before, dead but lingering still.
Can you feel their Presence?

Sister, they’ll never go away.
The ghosts of a past uncertain playing out what was.
Now you can see Them.

The future is unwritten.
We still have the choice.
The choice of the words we’ll leave behind,
The lingering song of the future’s past.

about the author
Colleen Freeze is a junior at Kettering Fairmont High School, and an editor of the school’s literary magazine, Aerie. She has had poems published in that publication two of the last three years, and hopes to do so again in her final year at Fairmont.

ARTISTS’ BLOCK

When I’m unable
to make a piece
that matches my own expectations

I bang my head
against a wall
loathing the awful creation

I’ll hate my life
and want to die
and think that all my skills suck

my canvas amounts
to nothing more
than an ugly pile of muck

I leave the room
determined to quit
when suddenly creativity ignites

I rush back in
only to find
my paintbrush has vanished from sight

about the author
Gemma Miller is a fifteen-year-old home-schooler in the ninth grade. Though most of her time goes to schoolwork, making art, and writing, she also enjoys playing piano, acting, reading, watching movies, and staying organized.

Freedom Train

FREEDOM TRAIN 1976
VANESSA O’KELLEY

“Is this here freedom on the Freedom Train really freedom or a show again.”
—Langston Hughes

I was 7 in June of ’76
when my parents took me to see
the American Freedom Train in Archbold, Ohio.
A red, white, and blue train
to commemorate America’s Bicentennial,
a traveling exhibit of historical artifacts,
including Dorothy’s ruby slippers and Jesse Owens’ medals.

For 40 years I remembered,
only, standing under a blazing sun
in an endless line that snaked across a field toward
a shimmering mirage of red, white, and blue.
On a whim I decided to google it,
to verify my memory, maybe write a poem.

I discovered that for 40 years I have lived in ignorance
of another Freedom Train, another poem.
Like its descendant, the ’47 Freedom Train was integrated,
but only after Langston Hughes wrote
his scathing poem Freedom Train,
only after Paul Robeson read it out, loud
and proud, in his rich, booming god-voice.
In the South the ’47 Freedom Train did not stop.
The all-white board of trustees
heeded the call to integrate,
but stopped short of actually fighting for it.

I didn’t know this, at 7, while I waited to see Dorothy’s shoes.
My only black friends were on TV,
the Jefferson’s, the Sanford’s, the Evans,
Roger, Rerun, and Dwayne.

Now I know about the ’47 Train,
and I’ve heard Robeson read Hughes’ poem.
I lived, as a child, in an America
where the number of black families on TV peaked in 1976,
with black characters written by white writers.

I live, now, in an America,
where black lives still fight to matter, and
where white privilege is not having to learn any of this.

Antioch Writers’ Workshop Best in Show

about the author
Vanessa O’Kelley had a passion for writing as a child, no surprise for the daughter of an English professor. She was convinced that one day she’d be a writer, but that passion was sidelined by her love for movies. In 1997, she graduated from Wright State University with a B.F.A. in Motion Picture Production, and she has worked in either film preservation (Library of Congress) or film production (as as production designer, set decorator, or set dresser) ever since. Now that she has rediscovered her passion for writing, she intends to pursue the writing life every day, although she’s not quitting her day job just yet.

Road to Lake Malawi

Lori Gravley

The roads are barely paved
then gravel, then just dirt, unrelenting
and kicked up through
cab windows. Our driver
says he’s from the Lake
two hours outside the city
and stops to hug his sister.
Everything along the road is corn
green and upright in the sun.
Puffy white clouds sway overhead.
It could almost be Ohio,
home, but for the women we pass
their wooden hoes slung over shoulders
bags wrapped and balanced atop their heads.
And I said women, but many are girls
walking so upright I sit taller in my seat.
At the beach resort, there are no plows
only wood carvings and waiters in crisp suits
and on the beach dugout boats with fish
some still flapping against the boats
resisting the air. I photograph the boys
who’ve brought in the catch,
and I photograph the fish
and the miraculous boats
still holding the shape of their source
like the memory of some straight tree.
The boys balance wide legged
over the edges, only the fish ride inside
crowded one against another
on the bottom. Our driver chats
with first this fisherman then the next
and we don’t know Chichewa
so we don’t know that
he’s bargaining for fish
until he pulls the rope
and lets the five he’s picked
dangle against his thigh.
He holds it away, but still
some wetness finds its way
to his khakis. I wonder,
for a moment, if there’s a cooler in the trunk
if he’ll beg ice from the resort.
We find a little shop
just outside the grounds
and pose with carved crocodiles.
When we reach the taxi,
an aging Corolla, we find the fish
slung over the driver’s side mirror.
I wonder if he’ll close the windows,
but on the long trip back to town
the window stays down though I cannot
smell the fish, only, once in a while,
I see the tail twitching in the wind
the fish gliding against the green
of the car door, their mouths
open in the evening air.

Antioch Writers’ Workshop 1st Place Adult

about the author
Lori Gravley writes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. She earned her MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has published poems in a variety of journals, recently including I-70 Review, Burningword, and Crack the Spine. She travels the world for her work as a USAID consultant, but her home is in Yellow Springs, Ohio. You can hear her read her own work and others’ on Conrad’s Corner at WYSO Public Radio (www.wyso.org). You can learn more about Lori at www.lorigravley.com.

After Flushing His First Muskrat

Cathryn Essinger

Since he is a modern dog who expects kibble
in his bowl and a bed from LL Bean, I open
Wikipedia and read to him about muskrats—

“semi aquatic rodents familiar to most inland lakes
and streams,” and he moves closer, panting
thoughtfully, so I continue. According to legend,

it was the muskrat who made the Earth, although
all of the other animals tried. It was only he who
could dive to the bottom of the primordial sea

and bring back enough mud (on his nose) to smear
on the turtle’s back where the earth then took shape.
And the dog thinks this is possible—he has seen

muskrats dive, and it is impressive, and he has seen
their dens stacked beside the stream like small cottages.
It’s the next part that worries him: “When the woman

fell from the sky, in her skirts were the seeds to grow
the trees, the corn, the grasses….” He has never seen
anyone fall from the sky, although he has watched

the woman stumble about at the edge of the stream,
crouching in the grass to return a turtle to the water,
and even bend over the fox, dead in the meadow,

to see if it could be brought back to life.
Mostly, he remembers the smell of wet musk in
his nostrils, the adrenaline rush as the animal

dove between his legs and slid into the current.
And then it was gone, leaving only the world that
he loves behind—the mud beneath his feet,

water pushing forward, the dizzying mix of sun
and shadow. Of course the story was true–
why would anyone doubt it? Just look around.

Antioch Writers’ Workshop 2nd Place Adult

about the author
Cathryn Essinger is the author of three prize winning books of poetry: A Desk in the Elephant House, My Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, from Midwest Gothic to The Southern Review, The Antioch Review and Poetry. She is a retired Professor of English and a member of The Greenville Poets, a small but well published poetry group that has been together for more than 25 years.

Papillae

Sarah Senne

We were the girls with—
tongues
that made mountains out of anthills
in the sandbox.
Our knees scraped with childhood stories
and Carolina sweat
sat on soft brows.
The world is made of grey-yellow here,
the world is shadow’s gold.

I remember the popsicles that—
stung
pearly children’s teeth and tongue
the world moving so. Slow.
Every weekday I would press my hands up to the glass
red and white and small,
beds of tulips bright below me.
We would pluck petals and hide them,
soft little secrets behind young tongues.

Antioch Writers’ Workshop 1st Place Youth Winner

about the author
Sarah Senne is finally sharing her writing after many years and many notebooks. She is eighteen years old and interested in writing, neuroscience, and photography.

Aniston

Brandon Feagle

Aniston—
I shall outlive this powerful rhyme
but lose my luster to muster my cartographic bluster throughout this unruptured eon
like old clockwork picking up grime whose ticking loses its time
whose life resembles the great preamble of the holy Greek Theoamble
my rusted heart still functionally beating
with a pace in mechanical peace.
My petroleum clogged lungs still reluctantly breathing
despite black blood from the earth beneath my feet rushing in
like an unaltered calculated release.
My enduring mind forever encrypted and leading
like an impeccable analytical engine centerpiece.
When the cool unforgiving metal
of my distasteful fists rests
upon my copper breast
and I shiver,
I wonder if this is what
my heart feels like underneath this bitter sinner
whose life resembles that of a winner?
For when frenetic battles lay waste to my metallic artistry
not an acute malfunction nor a devious device
shall wipe such a record from my preeminent memory.
Because man and machine can’t stand
the elites’ need of slave labor to build skyscrapers
whose mental mechanics adjusting my brain,
grease up my motor, tightening my chain.
When running all my life at the rate of steam power per hour to determine the success and
efficiency to that of the modulus of elasticity of the mind’s eye’s fully functioning pulley
does not interest me.
Although time may pass for some prevailing vogues
I will continually be dabbling in time-traveling
until grinding cogs, the enmity of deadly rogues,
and the unrelentless looking
stops me.
For I will live the obsession of my passion and longing
for an eternity.
Because this isn’t depression, it’s simply expression
awaiting its fate market resale rate
and my mind’s panels obscure my obscene circuitry
intercommunicating my tale so that it will atone and regale,
by the wise men of the old pale veil.
“The Story of the Victorian Automaton”
an unlikely phenomenon of
the mechanical gentleman’s
tick
tick
tick
Aniston.

Antioch Writers’ Workshop 2nd Place Youth Winner

about the author
Brandon Feagle is an artist who has produced pieces of art for nearly 5 years. During Brandon’s senior year, he produced many pieces of work. After graduating, he plans to attend Bowling Green University and major in Architecture.

First Trip to Cleveland

We start out as if on a lark, a romantic getaway
north to lake country, whipping by Amish
fields of straw sheaves, lined up like skirted
scarecrows, then that city skyline,
so jagged and uneven, a mouth with
missing teeth. Our bed and breakfast,
a stone mansion from grander days,
rock ‘n roll guitar sculpture marking the entrance.

Hurrying, we walk to the museum before closing,
meet Bonnard’s wife Marthe, feel the dappling
sun of Renoir, and search in vain for prints,
watercolors, all stowed in dark archives,
available by appointment. At dinner
we share everything, conversation, laughter,
an artichoke trimmed and dressed
in lemon, chicken breasts creamed
with goat cheese. Back at the inn, you study
your books while the woman next door coughs
erratically. We move into a new room,
where we rest under a blinking
smoke alarm, awakened in the early
morning by the repeated clearing
of a throat.

At the clinic, you lug your heavy bag
of hope to all three doctors, search for
answers, as I record conversations, no cracks
in the door to alternative treatments, only
surgery or radiation, the implanting
of seeds on a seek and destroy mission,
titanium husks you would always
carry deep inside, like a portable
landfill in a scarred landscape. Afterwards,
I drive us south, now and then stroking
the softness of your grey corduroys, silence
our companion the whole way home.

Best in Show
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Anne Randolph’s poems have been published in the following journals: Plainsongs, The Storyteller, Mad Poet’s Review, The Chaffin Journal and Willow Review. She has studied poetry at Wittenberg University, and has participated in the Antioch Writer’s Workshop.

Mid-Life Chrysler

You had to baby it. It had been through a lot … many lots.
Yet when you stepped on the gas, it only lurched,
threatened to stall, you stepped harder, it lurched again,
until the heck with babying it, you’re stomping
on the pedal, cursing, the car jerking us down the street,
RPM needle bouncing wildly, while the slightest dips
in the road caused busted shocks to boing,
as if riding on industrial-size pogo-sticks.

Sporty wouldn’t have been the word to describe that car;
nor would dependable, fuel efficient, economic, or sleek.
It was certainly no engine-revving muscle machine;
unless you count having to rev the engine to keep it
from stalling-out at stoplights, or the muscle exerted
manhandling the no-power steering, which we are not counting.
And forget horsepower, the giddy-up was violent,
like being jerked around by a bevy of three-legged donkeys.

The Beach Boys would have never written a song
about your car, that much can be said.
A blasphemy to the history of motor vehicles
your car made Stephen King’s Christine seem as prissy
as a pink, Mary Kay caddy in a Barbie parade.
And when you first pulled up in that 1986 Chrysler 500
in the summer of ‘98, it was apparent that, back at the car lot,
you’d had a serious Griswold-moment.

It was an ugly, dark brown box of rust on white-walled tires;
sofa-seats bleeding orange foam through ripped upholstery;
with an extra long front, stubby rear, and four square head lamps
that resembled toy flashlights made by Fisher Price.
Beater would be the word; lemon; rattletrap.
It was the kind of car you pray gets stolen,
but never would; not even with the keys left in the ignition,
a full tank of gas, and a sign that said—TAKE ME.

So I was surprised at your reaction, when I had recently joked
about that car, and you failed to find the humor in it.
Fifteen years was no anesthetic for the pain my playful jest
had unintentionally renewed. But it wasn’t so much for the car
that hurt, as it was for the situation: you were thirty-eight, newly divorced
with three young mouths to feed on a cashier at Lowes income.
Carless for a spell, that bum-squabbled hunk of corroded steel

was your freedom, your escape-vehicle away from that monster
whom I unaffectedly refer to as “dad.” After being imprisoned
by that insidious control-freak who’d never let you live,
you’d stolen one last glance in the rearview, before eighteen hard years
of marital hell vanished to a dot on the point of a new perspective.
The car itself was an eyesore not the slickest of paint jobs
could’ve saved. So what? It was there for you; all you could afford.
In the end, it was dad who’d driven us all away.
But it was you, mom, who stayed strong, and that beat-down
Chrysler 500 that drove the rest of us together. 

First Place, Adult Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

T.J. McGuire lives in Dayton, Ohio, with his wife and two daughters.

Now

Now is the time when the Earth splits open beneath you,
when the shining eyes bare the veins, break the skin,
video the secrets.
Your voice is loud against the night but the streetlamp’s scream
will always be louder than you.

Now is the time when golden silence will stretch itself
across the open roads, the cornfields whispering
of the days to come while you whizz by
with your carbonated drinks and sandwich bags,
the only company you’ve got.

And I’d like to tell you:
Do not become a lyric to those songs on the radio.
Do not live your life in the shadow of other people’s inspiration.
Become a melody.

Now is the time when mother, father become obsolete,
the clouds too big to fill an endless sky,
and you aren’t sure anymore the color of her eyes, the wave of her hair,
the way your ears begged to hear the ring of her voice, yes:
This is the way of remembering.

Now is the time when books will be burned,
the blasphemy and the beauty flying out into the night
against the flames in your eyes,
caught by the bats on their midnight rounds.

And I’d like to tell you:
Do not let the boys with their big hands squeeze you too small.
Do not let the boys who want to hold you, to protect you,
trap you.

Now is the time when you burn with questions.
They singe your fingertips,
but when you try to ask them, only the silence of the walls replies,
changing you to become less of story, more of stone
so that the next time she pushes you away, no tears escape.

Now is the time when nothing is hypothetical,
every bleak detail is literal, is reality, is death.
Your lipstick stain on the coffee mug, your razor worn and bloodied
to match the nick on your cheek, your leg, your wrist.

You are everyone,
all these stains are yours and permanent.

Do not pretend anymore. 

First Place, Youth Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Mollie Grace Greenberg is a junior at the Miami Valley School in Centerville, Ohio, where she participates in theater, the school literary magazine, and Model United Nations, and is the president of an environmental awareness club. She has received awards for her writing in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition. She lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with her parents, and she loves rainy days, tea, friends, chocolate, acting, and books. For Mollie, writing poetry is a form of breathing.

Tenant

The flaking farmhouse
crouches among cornstalks.

I imagine a small woman inside,
listening to September
insinuating itself through
brittle window frames,
as she punishes her guts
for some vague sin.

Vegetation and cloud cover
shadow her from
other wives—
ones with porch neighbors,
and gregarious, tongue-y dogs,
and toddlers in sherbet-colored socks.

Caterpillars hump their wools
across the puny highway
between soybean acres.

From her window
they are black blots
crushed on asphalt
like old chewing gum on parking lots,
like shadows of hailstones
careening,
light nothings headed nowhere.

Second Place, Adult Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Kerry Trautman’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals, including Mock Turtle Zine, Alimentum, The Coe Review, Third Wednesday, and Think Journal, as well as in the anthologies Mourning Sickness (Omniarts, 2008), Roll (Telling Our Stories Press, 2012), and Journey to Crone (Chuffed Buff Books, 2013).

Blue Shivers

Purple caffeine pumps through my engraved veins
A sweet relief to aching bones
It’s better to have shaky hands than shaky thoughts
Purple is my friend.

Yellow reality drops through the holes in my mind
A cold remedy for the pain
It’s a long way home but it’ll help on the journey back
Yellow is my friend.

Red lines shoot through my once innocent tired eyes
A sudden rush to clouded senses
But there are worse things hiding behind the curtains
Red is my friend.

Green epiphanies spread through my fingers and toes
A sharp sensation and it’s gone
Gone away with no trace, taking its baggage with it
Green is my friend.

Orange horizons set through my trains of thought
A burst of reality joins them
Contrasting night from day in a sad, sad way
Orange is my friend.

Blue shivers trickle through my worn ribcage
A large symphony of regrets
Blurring the lines between right and wrong
Blue is not my friend.

Second Place, Youth Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Shanna Harvey is a freshman in the creative writing magnet at Stivers School for the Arts. 

 

How to Get to Heaven from Ohio

Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest
Best in Show

How to Get to Heaven from Ohio
Eileen Klug

Directions:

1. Put your feet up on the dashboard after removing shoes and socks.
Your feet will be warmed by the sun and you will want to

2. Smoke all of the cigarettes, back to back, blue smoke ascending
to the blue sky. This is your offering and the oblation,
this is you tasting your soul. This is you, needing
your own sacrifice, demi-goddess that you are.
This will come in the form of your

3. Stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. Taste samples, revolving around the store
like stars around a cheese moon, stuffing your face
and giggling in a suspiciously mousey way, but

4. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t ever feel guilty for needing
the open road and rainstorms, for singing at the top of your lungs.
This is your heaven and highway and it is time to

5. Make peace with your life. Offer yourself to yourself and lick
the postage stamps that will send you home. Be a skeleton
made entirely of backbone and wishbone.
Be made of mostly heart-muscle and everything else. In the car, pray
to things that will cause problems: hamburgers, sunsets,
Marlboros, old age, youth, highways, the sensation of love
on cold skin, tea. This will make you

6. Shiver for your life—shiver as though everything depends on it.
Never mind the air conditioning—you will shiver your way in to heaven,
way above the roof of the car you were born into.
You will vibrate like a rocket launching into space, leaving
warmth and a handful of coins in the pockets
of your leather jacket—now the shell where you, heaven, and hell
once were. But

7. Don’t cry. You’re not gone. You are from the earth
and of it and always crashing
back to there, exactly where you could be
and exactly how you should be now,
and exactly as you once or always were. I promise, you will

8. Be again.

about the author
Ellie Klug is a junior at the University of Dayton. Originally from Cincinnati, she now lives in Dayton studying psychology and women and gender studies alongside her “Dayton family” and dog, Arrow. Ellie loves performing spoken word poetry, and most recently did so at Celebration of the Arts, held in Dayton’s Schuster Center.

Two Small Town Girls

Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest
Second Place, Adult

Two Small Town Girls
Kerry Trautman

They walked along the storefronts—several boarded shut, or emptied to dingy linoleum,
labeled “for sale,” since a two-years-ago flood. They peered in the antique store and the bridal boutique with a single hopeful shopper fingering the satins, and they wished to slip
into those voluminous, shimmery gowns, or lie on the lavender velvet sofa in the thrift store window, or lap the garlicky sauce wafting its warmth from the door of the diner as a man
shambled out, full, unsmiling. They ticked their quick feet down the rigid sidewalk, a dry
unsettled wind whipping leafy debris against brick walls, sandstone, cinderblock—the trash
of the weeks twitching as it landed in cold corners, or stuck between curbs and parked tires,
or hurled upward toward the frayed canvas awnings, toward upper apartment windows,
toward the networks of suspended iron stairs no one ever has used for escape.

about the author
My poetry and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals, including The Toledo Review, Alimentum, The Coe Review, The Redwood Coast Review, and Think Journal, as well as anthologies, including Tuesday Night at Sam and Andy’s Uptown Café (Westron Press, 2001,) Mourning Sickness (Omniarts, 2008,) and Roll (Telling Our Stories Press, 2012.)

To the Boy Who Sat Behind Me in Physics

Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest
Second Place, Adult

To the Boy Who Sat Behind Me in Physics
Elizabeth Schmidt

I didn’t calculate the trajectory of your shoulders
as you walked (though they were fine enough
and wide) or look for you before the bell rang
as one searches the night sky for the North Star.

I never thought your eyes were anything more
than brown (but a nice dark brown),
didn’t dream at night of falling somehow
on the ground with you, two bodies in motion

attracted by a force they couldn’t control.
(In short, there was no chemistry.) From my side
of the equation, we were both students of uncertainty
living in a common spacetime we couldn’t name.

Perhaps you felt the same? Not noticing
my hair or jeans, not formulating theories
about the laws of my universe or how to
get me into your backseat at the speed of light.

(Or not.) The day you took a quantum leap
and passed a note that said I was beautiful
was what Mr. Bowman would have called
a transfer of matter and energy.

We never kissed. We went to prom
and later on took Calculus and Advanced Chem.
After high school our orbits crossed
occasionally and then they didn’t (as they do).

But I remember you, your boyhood crush,
and still value the evidence, the thing itself:
a torn piece of notebook paper +
your handwriting = my time machine.

about the author
Elizabeth Cantonwine Schmidt lives and writes in Kettering, Ohio. Her poetry has been published in Flights, and featured on WYSO’s poetry program, Conrad’s Corner. She is married with four children, and works as a Librarian at Wright Memorial Public Library.

Pillbox

Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest
First Place, Youth

Pillbox
Ursula M. Kremer

An empty grey
box sits
small and alone
on a cliff overlooking
the blue sea.
Forgotten
but for the few
kids who have left
their names and thoughts
on its walls embedded
or painted as if forever.
Never
to be moved but
never to be loved.
Impenetrable
but for a hole
in the flat roof.
So close to the edge
it should teeter
and fall but
sturdy it remains.
Sturdy
and
alone.

about the author
Ursula Kremer, a freshman residing in Yellow Springs, has been writing since the first grade and hopes to continue it as a career. She would like to thank Ms. Nickell, for encouraging her to submit an entry, Ms. Blake, her Power of the Pen coach, and her family.

Trumpet

Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest
Second Place, Youth

Trumpet
Deborah Rocheleau

The instrument begins as a sheet of metal
which the sculptor bends around a mold, then with a hammer
pounds into a dented tube
getting thinner and flatter
battered
‘til the crinkles are pressed
and the smoothing can begin.

So how come some things can’t be muscled into shape
but most flow organically from the mind
a teardrop
a poem
a prayer
yet other things we pound and wrestle and flatten and smooth
until they sing?

about the author
Deborah Rocheleau is a writer of short stories and poetry, and a PSEO student at Sinclair Community College. Her work has been published by the Tin House Open Bar and A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. She is currently writing a contemporary young adult novel. She blogs at deborahrocheleau.wordpress.com.