2018 Walk Award
By Nancy Canyon

Wooden oars slosh     cutting lazy eddies
through narrow channel           low water
turns swampy              orange flicks and
flashes        sunfish circling murky shoal
fins  wag  to  cacophony  of  insect  buzz
green stalks curl and arch      chirp   plop
frog-kick      dive deep under    mirrored
surface reflects cirrus            streaks of
spilled milk above       rippling tea below
stems refract at water break     black lily
roots twist       gold marbled surface laps
red-winged blackbirds trill     dragonflies
flit past grandpa’s green rowboat.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Nancy Canyon. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

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The Blue Whale*

August 5, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Elizabeth Vignali

I was lamplight when night fell. I was speared
and flensed, minced and melted.

I was notched from upper jaw to tail fluke
with your insufficient rulers.

I was lather and varnish, fabric and rope.
I was corset, collar, whip and toy.

You brought home my rorqual heart.
Displayed my boat-large parchment

skull in dusty museums.
You drove cars beneath my arched ribs.

But you could not catch my decibel moan,
my hymn to the silver path.

I am barnacle coven and seaweed plantation.
I am a salt-slapped planet to a thousand

open-mouthed moons. We sing louder than your
engines. We sing despite the sonar shroud.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Elizabeth Vignali. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Menopause, the poem*

July 22, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Barbara Weed

We arrive, tempest-tossed,
way up the beach.
Alive, thriving, and dried.

Hormones are oceans
Of push-pull emotions.
Amazingly, gratefully, spent.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Barbara Weed. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Arson*

July 15, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Donald Antenen

August, the fire started at the back
then took the awnings and the recesses
the boarded windows now empty and black
no quinceañera and wedding gowns
no girlish excitement of any kind
till today I’d put the fire out of mind
now workers gut the remains of what remains
five men in masks and gloves, hammers and chains
before this job, the praying sort didn’t pray
except at the end that the boss would pay
and pay well before they get deported
or the safety hazards get reported
the red dress in the window was last
to burn but when it did, it burnt quickly.

. . . . .
Donald Antenen lives in Fairhaven with his wife and daughter. He is the founder of Callimachus Books, a home library design company.

“Arson” is about a dress shop in Baltimore, Maryland.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Donald Antenen. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.


2018 Merit Award
By Leslie Wharton

Avoiding whirling eddies
recirculating worries
torrents of to-dos
swirling self-doubt
Poem swims.

She rests in calm water
next to fast current
watches for a word
flash of muse
enticing nymph
anything to nibble on.

Hidden in shadows
She maneuvers
beyond logjams
past traumas
political debris.

Poem rises
hardly edited
never spoken
barely noticed.
Concentric circles
ripple outwards.

. . . . .
Leslie Wharton is a caregiver for extraordinary elders, currently a retired philosophy professor. You can find her writing in Phoenix Rising: Stories of Remarkable Women, in the upcoming 2018 Red Wheelbarrow Writers anthology, and chapbooks around Bellingham. She is proud of organizing poets and speakers for Bellingham Women’s Marches.

Leslie caught the poem, Fish Is Plural for Fish, while fishing on the Wynoochee River. Despite the poem’s claims, it was heavily edited with help from a friend, Ann Morris.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Leslie Wharton. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.


2018 Walk Award
By Tanner Abernathy

I burn cigarettes in a bowl for my father.
I fill my kitchen with the hard smell
that would cling to his shirts and his chin
like lichen on stones.
I like to burn several at once.
I fan a hanky over the bowl
stuff it in my back pocket
wadding the hanky tightly like a white ball of cancer
before I leave the house,
carrying my father with me as I go about my day.

. . . . .
Tanner Abernathy enjoys writing poetry and he sold one for five dollars once, has a degree in Creative Writing from WWU, and is starting a Master of Arts in Teaching program this coming fall. Tanner is a newlywed who enjoys walking with his wife, mentoring middle schoolers, and trying to make the earth a little cleaner and a little more thoughtful.

The idea for “Remembering his One Small Comfort” comes from the very natural question of ‘how do we remember our dead parents?’ “The only strong description I ever received of my mother’s father was his continual smoking of cherry-scented tobacco; since he died while my mother was in Junior High, I often think of how she carried his memory.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Tanner Abernathy. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Walk Award plaques!

June 26, 2018

Sooner than expected (it’s usually late July), the ten Walk Award poetry plaques for the 2018 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest have been installed in front of the Central branch of the Bellingham Public Library. They will be on display for a year. Take a poetry walk and enjoy some winning poetry from Whatcom County, Washington.

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