February 21, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Alexandra M. Lucas

Left over
Fruit left off the vine too long without being eaten
Left instead to decay
In the back of a crate
In some cheery farmer’s market
With no air conditioning

Almost all sold
We did well
Good enough!

Now I must do the proper thing —
Collapse into myself
On the bruises and patches of skin
That have lost their softness

Fade from view
So the ones approaching ripeness
Won’t be afraid

A cautionary tale

Look away, now
Look away

*Copyright 2020 by Alexandra M. Lucas. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

the basket weaver*

February 14, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Penelope Keep, Grade 8

behold the basket
gaze upon the careful weave
each piece of cedar bark cut
each wicklike willow strand maneuvered
into its own
the next no different,
not the same

between the folds, each resource glints
giving itself up
being taken in
by the calloused hands who remember
that each tall tree, each abandoned ribbon of sap
creates a bigger, a better, a more beautiful

and the hole, just there, is it also beautiful?
the frustration, the imperfection, the dropped stitch
machines could gloss each one without care,
no thought, no need for a furrowed brow that beads
the racing mind of the man
who sits, surrounded by his own creation
upon the garden he harvests from

*Copyright 2020 by Penelope Keep. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Volcanoes of Anger*

February 7, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Stephen Jacob Huxford, Grade 7

With no one to save me
Walking through the depths of my own soul.
Trudging through swamps of misdoubts,
And hiking the volcanoes of my own anger.
Facing tigers and lions of fear
And seeing my happiness in the sun.
But the sun is so far away and is just a dot.
The dot of happiness in everyone’s soul.
Shrouded by darkness, anger and fear,
All this leads to death.
The death of you and me,
The death of others, and the death of the earth.

*Copyright 2020 by Stephen Jacob Huxford. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.


January 31, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Steve Hood

Panda bears of the sea, killer whales
like to eat seals that eat fish that eat plankton.

Orcas like to jump into the air like majestic
reminders of the beauty of nature.

Blue skies, clouds, San Juan Islands
mark the world whales can only glimpse

before they return to their cold, liquid
home in the vast ocean at the dawn

of a new day on Earth as the watery globe
turns slowly in outer space.

*Copyright 2020 by Steve Hood. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

For Terry
2020 Merit Award
By Joshua Hilderbrand

The day you died I woke up at 530 am. Brushed my teeth
in a metal shipping container with no windows.
The day you died I got ready. Uniform/Boots/LBV/Kevlar.
I wore both plates, front and back.
The day you died we loaded the truck
full of letters/packages/cookies
from home, whisky smuggled in teddy bears, art supplies.
The day you died we were delayed by a suicide bomber.
This was the first time, that day,
I would think about my own death.
The day you died we drove our route.
RPG’s/roadside bombs/ small arms/mortars.
A few of the packages flew into the road.
The day you died we killed 13 people.
My knees knocked while in the box formation.
The day you died it was still dark in Spokane. In Iraq,
the sun was working over my face.
The day you died you tried to hold on until sunrise.
Maybe you thought the pills would be slower.
Maybe I didn’t let go in time.
I didn’t know you needed the morning
pinks and blues. I just needed to see through the smoke
long enough to get back into the truck and drive home.
My knees wouldn’t stop knocking.

*Copyright 2020 by Josh Hilderbrand. Broadside illustrated Kim Wulfestieg.

The Park*

January 10, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By John S. Green

She sat on the park bench with a book, a mug of tea,
and short chic hair—fitness, style, grace—all this in
one glance. But what I loved about her was her
children. The young son and daughter were playing

with abandon. He stood on a tree stump and
proclaimed, “Ahoy mates, the pirates are charging—
get ready for battle!” His play-mates drew their
swords. The daughter straddled a branch high up

in a tree and was singing. She waved to a bird
perched above her, and to a squirrel as it scampered
by. Meanwhile, the brother and his jolly men were
in hand-to hand combat with the pirates down by

the park’s pond. The mother lay on the grass and
closed her eyes. Her daughter, down from the tree,
raced over, and jumped on her mom, who shrieked,
and grabbed her little one—they rolled over and over

with continuous laughter. When they stopped, the girl
grabbed a clump of grass, placing in on her mom’s
head, who said, “A crown! Thank you!” The boys
were now knee deep in the water looking for frogs.

*Copyright 2020 by John S. Green. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.


January 3, 2021

2020 Merit Award
By Cristian Gonzalez, Kindergarten

I am playing outside with my brother.
A rainbow,
A sun.

*Copyright 2020 by Cristian Gonzalez. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

on the job*

December 27, 2020

2020 Merit Award
By Randy Flowers

there was a time
when I
wore high topped Keds
filled with
my feet
and the beach

now my shoes are polished
but they still get
I go home at night
empty my
shoes of me
become a boy again
as I look
for sand
between my toes

*Copyright 2020 by Randy Flowers. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

On Becoming Rootless*

December 6, 2020

2020 Merit Award
By Barbara Bloom

Even in winds that shake the house,
the Western red cedar and Douglas fir
stand firm, only their upper trunks swaying
like the masts of ships in a strong swell,
and though the branches whip in the turbulent air,
the trees are solidly rooted, as I have to say
I am not, each breeze tossing me aside
as if, like the dandelion seeds children blow on
to send their wishes into the world, I had become
insubstantial, nothing to anchor me to the earth.

*Copyright 2020 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Lake Louise Spring*

November 29, 2020

2020 Merit Award
By Judy Bishop

Cold rivulets run down over rocks,
through woods, finally flow into the lake.
Hillside alders beaten by winter’s wrath,
limbs bent, broken into submission.
The well-worn path, wet and muddy,
crisscrossed by rabbits and squirrels.
Robins — hearty spring harbingers — hop, stop,
cock their heads. Red-winged Blackbirds cling
to cattails, cry, divert attention from nests.
Nervous geese, eager to mate, squawk
and take flight at slightest sounds.

Pink Salmonberry blossoms beckon Rufous
Hummingbirds. Western Skunk Cabbage cups
curled leaves in prayer.

Sunshine and the stay-at-home order welcome
trail walkers. We dance our six foot distance,
warmly greeting neighbors never met before.

The south wind forms honey-comb patterns on
the lake. Below the surface, lilies in their dark
unseen secret world, not unlike the virus, begin
their epic journey toward the light. So do we.

*Copyright 2020 by Judy Bishop. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

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