2018 Regional Winners

She doesn’t sleep, this baby we brought home 

She doesn’t sleep, this baby we brought home,
As if the labor, long and full of pain
So traumatized her as she fled the womb
She vowed to never close her eyes again.
Our nights are full of wraiths that haunt her bed.
She waits, alert, for me to rescue her
From ghosts that fill her tiny head with dread
And make her little body shake with fear.
What life awaits her fifty years from now
When I’m the one who needs her by my side
Will she remember my caress, and how
I held her through the long nights as she cried
Or is this care for her how I will learn
To love without demanding in return

Frances Edstrom
Winona, MN

The Great Deniers

Their mental houses have a leaky roof
and cracked foundations built on shaky ground.
They squat inside, benighted and aloof,
imagining the Earth is safe and sound.

For them a fact is nothing but a spoof
devised by eggheads in a lab somewhere.
They blindly scoff at scientific proof
that points to threatened water, land, and air.

This wondrous globe, our home where life arose,
becomes an ever foul, endangered place,
and yet the urgency is lost on those
who cannot see a nose-length past their face.

They sit in darkness, make-believe what’s true,
and bar the door so reason can’t get through.

Richard Meyer
Mankato, MN

The Scribbler’s Question

I scribble words, scratch out some, scan, and stop,
and think of what I wrote, some’s pretty good,
more’s had too much sun. (I’ve no tent atop
Parnassus, met no god to be my guide.)
But scribbler, answer this: whose words are they?
Words that dance along the circuitry
of brain, those networked neurons that array
the thoughts that remember themselves as me.
The neurons’ then? Or those of little lives?
Those cells by billions bagged within my skin
that labor ceaselessly like bees in hives,
but in blind, mechanistic discipline,
whose wordless work becomes the thought that drives
the scribbler asking where the words begin.

Jim Togeas
Morris, MN