Baltimore City Paper

2011 poetry contest winners


First Place

The Point

By April Meehan

Will you say then, Moira, ah México 
as hot amber sippèd, slides like sunset
into you? So many happy hours go
by, looking for men you haven’t yet met.
It’s two for one time and you’re agavé
eyed, lime lip’d, full hip’d, salt sweat slick, alone,
sweet and rip’d, panty hose running. You say,
Madre de Dios, I should go, head home.
Only, José beckons from the bar—one more
for the road, barkeep—and it’s two for one
time as he (a stranger) walks though the door
reeking of musk and mammalian fun.
Stilettos stab cobblestones, waking the day
as fog licks the lip of Thames and Broadway.


Second Place


— Walter Reed Army Medical Center

By Ann Eichler Kolakowski

December eighth, two thousand seven:
Malone House glows with artificial cheer,
the way one would expect at an almost hotel
that serves the almost well.

Here, where wounded troops deploy to learn
again Activities of Daily Living,
a Girl Scout troop constructs a lobby fortress

from Samoas and Thin Mints
as other groups unload plush bears and racks
of puffy coats that suffocate in plastic.
Lucky, says my daughter.

The guests begin to gather, some with shiny
body parts-–a hook-for-hand, one leg
that’s pieced and propped by steely scaffolding.

And then a family, the wife
(she can’t be more than twenty) pushing the chair.
Impossible to look away as the toddler
climbs upon the lap

no longer there: the khaki legs cut off
below the crotch and crisply folded shut,
just like a sack that holds a young boy’s lunch.


Third Place

On the Train Home

By S.E. Weissman

Here the black boys fail to make their baskets
each evening as the train passes. Taggers
leave their marks and along the track
a mobile of woven razor-wire. These are
the killers of desire: buildings with cracks
tarred like scars and chimneys like tiny
nuns or sarcophagi.
We slip into the tunnel,
the quiet slide underground, where the
groans and complaints of the track
become a gentle, encompassing
roar. On to Baltimore.
In the city I catalog the trees.
Most have little pockets where wounds have healed.
One engulfed in vines, another closing up
like a spider. Then the ones that in the summer
flower and smell like soap. And the thin ones,
adolescents with leaves gone
brown at their lips.
The cicadas speak:
We must diversify our tree portfolio. The summer
has been hot. Only things that are tougher,
thicker, slower will survive.
At home
I measure coffee and cut a bitter salad,
It is quiet, warm and dark,
I observe my jelly jar glasses,
the broken stove, how I wait
to be fulfilled, how I
garnish my own happiness.