3rd Place ‘What Came Out of the Fire’ by L.T. Garvin
What came out of the fire was at first surprise, disbelief and a mad scramble to retrieve the material items lost dreams a bit of hope from a small canister
digging among the ashes sharp shock strong enough to cut bone hatred and betrayal enlivened by the flames the aide of a close friend who tried
as the flames climbed echoes of souls burning although the faithful watched silently severed ties, broken family the mourning of a heartless mother
through the smoke a bland day made its mark karma smote material greed the mirrors, although charred, reflected toil dark never ending heartbreak
smoke…ash….water…mud sludge as sacred water ruined the leftovers abandoned animals crouched – no good home here
flames engulfed that house burned through memories bad memories too the sting of abuse the cycle of crazy
there was no smoke dense enough to cover the rot of self-esteem the emptiness of tomorrow, a molten mess
broken banner boy you’ve been alone stuff your raggedly things in plastic bags take your damaged self from here
the belligerent bloated one dismisses those below him with his evil scowl he remains full of hate his damage is done
the wayward boy walks everywhere he goes ashes fall from him the smell of smoke permeates all he has left
What came out of the fire was this: anguish, bitter, deep hurt – it burned golden trinkets destroyed – the playing field leveled homeless aching pain – in flames incendiary fear – a burnished sun bleeds
BIO: L.T. Garvin is the pen name of Lana Broussard who writes fiction, poetry, essays, humor, and maintains a WordPress Blog. Lana has previously published short stories available in Texas Writers Journal, and will be publishing a children’s book, Confessions of a 4th Grade Athlete with Crystal Publishing. In real life, she is a substitute teacher and works to help kids master the literacy skills they need to succeed and hopefully grow up to make the world a better place. Lana is also an avid reader and truly appreciates literature and the work of fellow writers.
2nd Place ‘Smoking Kiss’ by Niharika Pandey
“Have you ever felt that addiction, that craving in your very veins for something forbidden? A tiny cigarette change you as a person, kick you down, break your will and draw you in until until you can protest no more.” Desperate to still her quaking fingers, she draws in an unsteady breath. Her gaze lingers on passing smokers, and she craves that magnetic, sooty death. She grinds her teeth in silent frustration, trying to douse a raging fire, she steels herself away from passion, vexed by her unrelenting desire. Alas, prudence gives in to desire, craving obliterates her resolve, a smoky haze envelops her, inducing a trance, ethereal and dire. Guilt is lost in a mirage of bliss, Concern flies out of the proverbial window, Hungering for this smoky kiss, She embraces her old foe. The miracle fades, leaving behind guilt, She cowers from the accusing glares, She ponders over right and wrong, To have an epiphany, she dares. Drowned in the tides of coercion, She sets her cigarette down, Having heard it called diabolic, She succumbs with a frown.
1st Place ‘Heart’ by Olivia Williams
A change of heart, a change of mind.
Beat, beat, beat. A pounding against a chest, against a swollen stomach, weak and feeble, but beating nonetheless. Skin and fingers scraping against the sac, retreating into itself, and then kicking out, reaching forward. Beat, beat, beat. “Mother I’m here, speak to me.” Blood flows through now, slowly and smoothly, no lungs to push through oxygen, mouth open silently, exclaiming and taking in the world.
Beat, beat, beat. A pounding against a chest, against a swollen stomach, stronger and clearer, chest rising in a poor imitation of breath. Limbs spread out long and wide, stretching boundaries and walls, lips and hands spread out across the small world. Eyes open to a blank slate, new world, new life, first smiles and frowns and shock, invisible to our eyes, deep channels pressing out to hear the music of life, a mother’s voice, a mother’s voice for the first and last time.
Beat, beat. Silence. A change of heart, a change of mind. A change of one heart can be fatal to another.
BIO: My name is Olivia Williams and I am an amateur poet. As well as poetry, my interests include baking, and reading. I am currently in my second year of a levels at edgbarrow school, taking creative writing, English literature, and psychology. I hope to one day publish a book of my own poetry on the subject of change. The poems I have submitted are some of the poems that I intend to include in it.