Our First Apartment*

May 28, 2023

2022 Merit Award
By Flannery White

our sheets suspend across my second-
hand chairs; our socks and delicates
overwhelm his drying rack
we read together in
our laundry-wrapped room
our belongings

*Copyright © 2022 by Flannery White. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Poet’s bio:
After growing up overseas in Beijing and The Hague, Flannery White moved to the Pacific Northwest at 17 to attend the University of Washington. Her work has previously appeared in Potluck Mag, Foliate Oak, Cirque, and the “Your Body of Water” Collection of the Seattle Poetry on Buses project. “I began writing ‘Our First Apartment’ soon after my now-husband and I moved in together. I didn’t want to forget the poignancy of our first small, shared space, knowing we would eventually move on to larger pastures. I choose to use a nonet because the decreasing line length down to one final syllable echoes a relationship deepening into a single shared life, and nicely mirrors folding laundry, too.”

NOTE: a chapbook of the 2022 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems, including this one, is available at Village Books in Bellingham. All sales profits benefit the annual contest.

2022 Merit Award
By Vincent Tsan

You are like your house
Earthy and youthful
And all the smells you cook yourself into

You are your backyard garden, transformed from hand
The wooden bed with summer kale and beets

You are the tarp you made that protects your foyer
And the pieces of dark sturdy wood that bind your house
That is still there when I come over

You gave life to the thanksgiving party
Cranberry cider and shrimp chips fizz in my mouth

On the top of your tall staircase is
A party of rubber ducks with various costumes
You make ME look forward to growing up
So I can buy my own house

I will buy rubber ducks
And through living, I will become a house

You are life at the purest form,
I love you Yee Ma

*Copyright © 2022 by Vincent Tsan. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Poet’s bio:
“My name is Vincent Tsan. I am 18 years old. This is my first published poem. I will graduate from Sehome High School and plan to attend WWU. My favorite food is either dumplings or char siu bao (Chinese Barbecue Pork bread). ‘Yee Ma and her Homey Vibe’ is about being excited to grow up. Yee Ma means Aunt in Cantonese, which is my native tongue. Her home is one of my favorite places in the world and I celebrate many fun holidays at her house. I want a house like hers when it is the time for me to buy my own home.”

NOTE: a chapbook of the 2022 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems, including this one, is available at Village Books in Bellingham. All sales profits benefit the annual contest.


April 9, 2023

2022 Merit Award
By Heidi Kenyon

Soft sounds filter
through silence after bedtime:
the door breathes open
my son stands shyly in his Daddy’s shirt.
I start to scold him back
to bed, but he knows the code:
“I want to cuddle.”
I pull him to my lap instead.
His legs fold like tent poles.
This child who dashes,
dances, shrieks, prances
melts now with such ease,
limp and fetal
slack like bread dough.
I slide down the slick bank of quiet,
into the stream of night noises,
his breathing, fridge humming,
elastic tick of the clock, stretching time.
His lips parting to speak make a moist
noise, his still-baby voice slow with sleep.
“You know,” he says,
and I jerk awake, jarred.
“Sometimes stars fill up our mouths,
and we can’t talk.”

*Copyright © 2022 by Heidi Kenyon. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.


January 17, 2023

Forget the roses and the chocolates (well, maybe not the chocolates): show your Valentine some love with poetry. To benefit the Skagit River Poetry Foundation, poet Jeffrey Morgan and paper artist Nancy Scagliotti will offer a Valentine & Poetry Workshop on Saturday, February 11, 2023, 1:00-3:00pm. $10 includes supplies. Families welcome. Register by sending an email to directorsrpp@gmail.com. The workshop will be held in person, in Mount Vernon, at a location TBD.

Want more love poetry? This one is after Valentine’s Day, but not too late for love. On Sunday, February 19, 2023, 11:00am-2:00pm, Oregon poet Christine Delea will offer Love is Strange, an online poetry workshop that will avoid “the moon-June-swoon lovey-dovey poems and look at poems that are grounded, more complex, and willing to tackle love in all its aspects.” This is a Pay-What-You-Can Event ($5 minimum), with ALL fees going to the Portland Chapter of For Goodness Cakes. Click here to register for Love is Strange.

On Remembering*

January 11, 2022

2021 Merit Award
by Barbara Bloom

I listened to you breathing
I wanted to remember the sound of your breath.

Still dark out, I wake slowly.
Even the cat still sleeps,
a warm lump curled into my leg,
and, having slid into you in the night,
I relish the warmth,
the familiarity of your flesh against mine,
and know the sharp need to hold it in memory,
yes, to memorize it, as the poet I read last night
does the morning — so many
poems about morning
in this book written as he approaches ninety,
nearly blind,
hearing the rain against the broad leaves
of some Hawaiian tree
and remembering his childhood
in a much different place,
those rains, those trees, those mornings —
knowing even memory
won’t hold them steady against time.

*Copyright © 2021 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

I Stop In The Woods*

March 21, 2021

2020 Walk Award
By Betty Scott

To watch a parade of mallards
Paddle and quack in circles
Splashing ripples across the surface
Of their home, a muddy pond,

As sunlit Evergreens…beyond…
Stand guard, reflecting themselves
Beneath the pond of brown,
Crowns of pines, topside down,

Reaching deep into the mud below.
I see this with my third eye as guide
To the rift and ride of souls: bonds…
Of love intertwined with joy.

*Copyright 2020 by Betty Scott. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

February 14

February 14, 2020

found poem © j.i. kleinberg

Read some love poems.
Happy Valentine’s Day.

I bought a pair of earrings*

September 1, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Quinn Moore, Grade 4

I bought a pair of earrings
They were sparkly and blue
I loved them and adored them
They were shiny and new

Then you gave me a small rock
Which was very dirty too
But I loved it even more so
Because it came from you

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Quinn Moore. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Meditations on Love*

September 23, 2018

2018 Walk Award
By Marie Eaton

What do I eat when you’re not in love?
Dry stick pasta.
Unsalted vegetables and
ten-day old carrots gone soft in the vege drawer.
No crunch. No bite.

All the lean, mean, cuisine,
standing by the sink with a plate for one.

Stones and sorrow.
Empty eggshells. The bird of love has flown.

I eat the words that closed your door.
I eat crow to say I’m sorry.

What do I eat when I’m not in love?
Solitary salmon at that white-tablecloth restaurant.
A glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
Savoring silence and no conversation.

Laughter served with linguine and lemon zest.
Big, boisterous dinners with friends,
filling the heart.

. . . . .
Marie Eaton, a retired faculty member from Fairhaven College, currently directs the Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University. She also teaches creative non-fiction writing and songwriting at the Northwest Writer’s Weekend. http://www.nwwritersweekend.org

This poem began with a jump-start prompt in a writer’s group “What do I eat when I’m in love?” I had fun turning that prompt inside out.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Marie Eaton. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.


February 14, 2018

Grant Snider draws comics about writing, literature, inspiration, art, books and other elements of the human condition.

. . . . .
Cycles of Love by Grant Snider

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