2018 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

I have never in my life
given orders to the morning
or sent the dawn to its post
Told it to grasp earth by its tail
and shake the shining out of it.

I have never in my life
seen a star’s dark socket
or met the janitors of shadows
Visited the place where snow is stored
or made water hard as stone.

And I’ve never in my life
hacked a path for thunder
or tilted the flasks of heaven
To melt dry clods to mud:
I’ve never conjured weather.

Yet at the point of a pen
I’ll demand of my ink
a passion/ pulse/ and power/
To make you laugh and sing
as if skies weren’t always grey.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

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2017 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

Some of my brothers are broad-backed low-set men
unlike the other who stands like me tall and scrawny
vulnerable to the wickedness of weather.

We’re ducks and herons standing by the great lake
fists jammed to pockets shoulders hunched, soldiers
against fierce wind, five hundred miles away from home

longing, preparing for hard flying, drunk with desire,
between moonlit clouds and the shine off the Snake — as
it turns west through the Tetons toward the prairies

of Idaho, rivers-on through rolling sage of the Palouse
into Columbia Basin where it stretches tongue out mouth
past a broken line of island teeth to taste the Pacific —

the shine showing us the way home.

It’s the shoulders we have in common . . . as we stand
along the lake in the snapping wind . . . crafting silences
more articulate than ever . . . getting ready to leave

for home . . . the distance in our heads.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

The Following Monday*

October 9, 2016

The Following Monday by Roger William Gilman
2016 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

The Following Monday: a Grief Observed
For my mother, dead on Wednesday, buried on Saturday

I stop walking      and look down.

Beneath my boots
the black leaves and red needles
having lain long
in the ruts of the logging road
create a chicory tea
from a stream of sunlight
flowing through the late hemlocks and maples
in this small ditch
filling with seeping water,
steeping a puddle of feeling without meaning
beneath a broken gray and gilded sky,
a tea for one not newly come to love, one
whose memory does not easily fall away.

I stop dreaming      and look up
interrupted by a wedge of geese
flying back the other way — home.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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