2019 Regional Winners


I’m too advanced in years to swoon for love
To moon about this world in endless dreams
Which fill the unmarked time and make me move
In ways that are unseemly, best unseen
And not the calm, collected elders’ way
This slow, erotic wasting of the hours
While on the cramped and cushioned couch I lay
Supine and deeply pressed by Eros’ powers
Ah, Sappho, say what time you think is best
To feel the heart is beating far too fast
In youth, untried, unused to this bold test
Or else in age when we’re left less aghast
And calmly watch our own great passions burn
And thank the gods for fervour’s moist return

Jane Callahan
Rochester, MN

Zebras in Sunlight

A summer dress can’t dance all by itself.
A breeze can partner with it, tangle it
sweetly fragrant over new grass, half-lit
but half in moony zones where a single self
will tend to blur and merge. Clean linens wave,
no longer horizontal. Bedsheets bend
and beckon. Do you know what you intend
on this innocent afternoon? The cave
of breeze in which you play at hide and seek
shape-shifts like your turbulent, cloudy thought.
Perhaps there is someone to tell you what you ought
to make of this day, some book in Greek
or Hebrew that winnows wrong from right,
but don’t ask me to choose just black or white.

Leslie Schultz
Northfield, MN

The Chef at Home

He bakes with love. The extra care it takes
to blend two flours for a flawless crumb,
enriches every layer of his cakes.
His pie crusts, crimped with forefinger and thumb,
are brushed with egg to gleam like Aztec gold.
Banana bread—each slice a perfect sponge
for tea—he’ll make on mornings when it’s cold,
while evenings end with the unseemly plunge
of forks through cheesecake. Guests come to be primed
for heaven by the scent of his soufflé,
which tastes like friendship warmed. And once it’s time
to brown the custard skins of crème brûlée,
the sugar crystals show no signs of scorch—
turning to caramel under his blue torch.

David Southward
Milwaukee, WI