The Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest

By Lynette K. Allen

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    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