Selected Photography, Art, and Poetry Winners: Windows of Light

by Laura Kay Worthington


A Thought

The ideas flee across my mind
Like the shadow of a lone hawk,
As a windless dusk,
Sweeps the desert floor.

[photo] Best Photo by Rachel Rawlins

Pressed to the Ground

Pressed to the ground like the
wild grass in the pasture
when blown down by the wind,
I lie amid my tears.
“Please, oh please, dear Father,”
I cry from swollen throat,
“It is too much for me,
I yield my will to thee.”
Pressed down by winds of strife
I lie, and yet stand my
tallest as I bow.

Gossip

Backyard gossip
whispers across a fence—
ladies resting
while raking dead,
brittle leaves.
Breezes of murmurings
whisk dandelion puffs
from their stems,
planting seeds
along their path.
Syllables without voice
blow from lips
like ashes shot from the fire,
scattering in the wind
they cannot be
gathered up.

[photo] Photo by Lynn Howlett

[illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

[photo] Photo by Ned James

Music

The low,
sweet sound
was barely audible.
The vibrating strings,
like a cat’s whiskers,
seemed to quiver with
anticipation.
The bow,
with long, delicate strokes,
seemed to glide over the strings.
Softly,
the music ended:
the violin concert was over.

Gathering Apples

Holding to the last shreds of sleep
I hugged the top mast and searched for whales,
while diving seagulls, white wedges of light,
rocked the air. Then the snap of wet sails
gave way to the ring of my mother’s voice
and I awoke. My room was gray,
the open window breathing September mist,
and my blue oceaned dreams lay
irretrievable behind my eyes.
Above me, in the kitchen, I could hear
stockinged feet sliding on wood,
the whistle of steam, the scrape of a chair.
I found Mother at the sink peeling
apples, the thin skin of a Jonathan
sliding away from the blade
in a sliver as red as morning sun.
“I need more apples,” Mother said,
pushing back her hair and laying
the peeled globe in a bowl. Barefoot,
I went out the back, across the porch, hurrying
into the mist. The orchard stood
to the east of the house: two Golden
Delicious trees, a gnarled Roman,
a stunted Winesap, and the Jonathan
whose longest branches brushed kitchen glass
when the wind blew. I climbed until
my ninety-three pounds nearly buckled
young branches. Far below, the window sill
held daisies spotted gold with kitchen light.
Everything else was mist—the hills
were distant swells, the barn a floating crag,
the crows winging from the windmill’s
tower were like gulls lifting from a sail.
And in the north field, I saw a school
of sea lambs floating through haze,
heads erect, their ghost faces a warm pool
of white. I hugged the tree-mast tighter
against the breeze, while my mother,
shimmery through glass, like a misty
figure head, pointed to an unseen shore.

[photo] Photo by Cheri A. Brooks

[photo] Photo by Lisa Metcalf

[illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

[photo] Photo by Andy Zmolek

[illustration] Illustrated by Rachel Adams

[photo] Photo by Andy Zmolek

Summer

Summer is a lime-green rivulet of sno-cone
running down your arm.
It is hay in your hair,
and rocks
in your bicycle tires.
Summer settles down
on you
in carotene red and
rusted pink
of a sunset in July,
and scurries off to the
flurry
of orphan color on the sidewalk.

[illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

Falling Off a Log

Glistening in the garage
A dream of months
Come true.
Son, bursting with pride,
Soon to be one
Of the big kids.
“It’s easy!”
They claim
As he shakily mounts
His two-wheeled stallion.
Wobbling, in spite of feet
Still planted
On cement.
Easing first one
Then two
Up, to stiff pedals.
A moment
Of flight
Gliding ecstatically
Faster! Faster!
Crash! Skid.
Elbows smart, knees sting,
Eyes fill
with melted pride.
The stallion is led, limping
To its stall.
He’ll grow up …
Tomorrow.

Midnight Swim

Underneath a quilted heaven
I float in a pool of liquid sky;
The patches of stars above me glitter
And laugh at me as time goes by.
The heaven’s light is softly mirrored
By sparks that magically arise,
And it seems I am surrounded
By underwater fireflies.
The horizon dimly lies before me—
The night is velvet to the touch—
And I, in such a harmless darkness,
Am grateful to live and feel so much.

[photo] Photo by Lisa Downs

[illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

Sunset at 6:51

I lie on the beach
and watch the sun
trickle into finger paintings
of purple crayon grease.
Closing my eyes,
I listen
to this yellow orb
melt chocolate
and blow ginger.
Vacant air tastes like
warm lemonade
as it fills my open mouth
seeping between my teeth,
tickling my stomach.
My fingertips
dip into invisible swirls
of dyed tapioca pudding.
Fingers slide over the sky;
I sign my name in
daylight’s heaven.
My signature
dissolves into sunset.

[illustration] Illustration by Lynell Barrett

Buffalo

In a fenced field outside of Price
I saw my first buffalo.
Horned, humped, and shaggy warm,
he sat in the snow, his legs curled under like a lamb’s.
He turned his bearded head
and watched through wire as I passed,
his slow eyes following me
from post to post.
I saw something of the aged scholar in that face,
of one who had dredged up the past
from reading too many books—
he looked tired.
Where was the snorting, pawing, two-ton beast
I knew from spaghetti westerns?
I yelled, but he didn’t explode
into hoof and horn and frenzied eye—
he didn’t even blink.
Then a rancher chugged up on his tractor to unload fodder.
My buffalo friend lumbered up,
and on lank legs, trotted
to where six spotted jerseys mooed for hay.
I left him munching with the cows
and walked up the road alone,
saddened at fenced prairies and broken buffalo,
saddened at having followed my own mediocre crowd.

[photo] Photo by Katherine Gossett

[photo] Photo by Tracy Jones

[photo] Photo by Ned James

[illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

[photo] Photo by Katherine Gossett

Winter Shade

City skyline in a winter-gray wash
Tree shadows of old-age brown
compose a languid commentary
about the season’s stay.
Cold is not a stranger here—
only an unwelcome guest
who moved in quite long ago
and eagerly unpacked.
The one-thing-to-another of day-after-day life
goes on.
People in heavy little “putt-putt” cars
swim as lentils
in the bottom of a soup bowl
left to sit too long.
But somewhere,
just behind a curling corner
of watercolor gray,
a wind waits impatiently
to blow the winter page away.

[photo] Photo by Stacy Holiday

[photo] Photo by Lynn Howlett

Quotes from Haggai

He was a large man,
Even behind the pulpit.
And he struggled with his notes as he spoke.
He wasn’t dynamic,
Or dashing,
Or deft.
It would take him awhile to get to his point.
Once in trying to do so
He recollected how his folks
Had kind of a hard time of it
During the Depression
And he was left with his grandmother for a while then.
But anyhow …
He told us how he’d memorized the Lord’s Prayer
And he’d always had it as a backup
When he didn’t have words of his own.
He continued.
“Now how many of us has had
Those same kind of feelings in life?”
He mentioned his wife and the grandkids.
As he was concluding he said
He’d kind of like to quote Haggai here,
“Now I come onto Haggai—
And nobody quotes Haggai very much,
He’s one of those little guys
Who kind of gets forgotten in the middle here
But I think he’s got something to say here.”
And he read to us from Haggai chapter one.
He soon concluded his talk,
“So that’s something to think about.”