The Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest

By Lynette K. Allen

For Those Who Never Know

First Place Winner
Perhaps her name was Sarah,
Bunching skirts up
As she turned away
From cultivated fields
To load the tools of planting,
Squinting at the hot horizon
Through a wagon’s dust,
Wiping on a muslin sleeve
The sweat of prairie-tending;
Aching from the births of children
And of land.
In cresting waves
Long past the breaking
Of her camp,
The hoped-for green
Without her knowing
And those of us who came behind
Found feasts within the furrows
That she left
And left
And left.


Second Place Winner
I stretch my hand
To pluck the seed-like flakes,
Bowing over the full basket,
Feeling the weight of His love,
Knowing that from this harvest
I must grind and bake.
Small chore for sweet bread
Freely offered,
Bread mixed with tears
For this
Source of life.
I stretch my hand
To partake of broken bread,
Bowing over a full heart,
Feeling the weight of His pain.
Knowing that from His harvest
I may repent, take on His name.
Small chore for sweet forgiveness
Freely offered,
Forgiveness mixed with tears
For Him—for this
Bread of Life.


Third Place Winner
my mind is an iron
running over
the same old board
pressing out words
like sleeves
on a shirt
struggling to get
the lapels
to lay flat
carefully ironing
out the wrinkles
and sometimes
pressing them in

[illustration] Painting by Minerva Teichert