The first official day of spring bloomed in Santa Fe over the weekend, quietly heralded by fruit tree blossoms ready to split their shiny buds, blades from bulbs slicing through the soil and people freaking out in their houses (or going out anyway against public health advice) amid daily updates about the spread of COVID-19.
SFR had already planned for this week's edition to feature the winners of our annual Spring Poetry Search. But now, sharing these words feels even more important.
Hundreds submitted their work for consideration, from which guest judge and Santa Fe Poet Laureate Elizabeth Jacobson selected these four winners. Even if you're not a regular consumer of poetry, this time could be a great time to dip in your toe. Big thanks to all the poets who supported our journalism mission with contest entries! Be well. (Julie Ann Grimm)
By Cynthia Marshall Shore
Muffled flops and crackles spackle the dark. I flip on the light to see our big orange tom cat with a dead rabbit. He has somehow dragged it
through the cat door to my bedroom and, as if sampling a lover, buries
his mouth fastidiously in a gory red bowl at the neck. I spare my daughter,
who slipped into my bed around midnight, by sliding on boots and gathering up the rabbit. Shuffle in the falling snow to the pinon wood behind our house and
leave the carcass sheltered under a tree in a frozen cradle. Rattled, I need to remind myself I've seen this before. When I was 12, a cat skeleton in a puddle,
with tufts of fur and white maggots wriggling on bones. At six, dried stains of blood on the road my father cleaned as best he could, our little daschund killed.
Four dogs are buried around the property, and yes, the kitten, just weeks ago, shaken to a wide-eyed stretch by a neighbor's dog, her furry tummy opened
like a fan. From the trees, my house is cushioned in thick white. It stands solid, the inside dwindling, a sickly warmth, one window glowing a rusty orange.
At my back, the cool dark beckons; the rabbit, the blankets of snow. After all, I
have stood outside and looked in many windows with longing. My daughter
nods sleepily as I scrub the blood off the floor, sweep up the bits of fur, sit with tea and look outside. The black sky turns grey. The snow is falling in earnest.
The orange tom sits by the sliding door and watches with me.
We can expect about four inches today.
Shore is a writer and editor who specializes in educational communications. Her poems have been published in "Women Becoming Poems" anthology, the Global City Review and the Sierra Nevada College Review. She lives in Santa Fe with her two daughters.
“Flunked my Army draft physical in 1970”
By Frank Falcone
Falcone is retired from sales in the packaging industry and moved to Santa Fe with his wife, Marcia, and two cats in 2017 from York, Pennsylvania. He never looked back.
THIRD PLACE — TIE
“Riding at supper time where rich folks live”
Cady is a recovering semi-retired trial lawyer, nationally certified child welfare law specialist. Graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, class of 1965. Active in the Free Speech Movement at Cal-Berkeley, 1964-65. He has lived and worked in Santa Fe since 1993 and written two novels, numerous short stories and poems which feature the darker sides of socially marginalized people, including children who are victimized by predatory and just plain mean adults and, in some cases, by lawyers and judges.
“My Stolen Bike”
Sosaya is a 74 year old Vietnam veteran who changed careers 49 times. He writes, "I occupy my time living in Albuquerque between playing tennis and doing things with my grandchildren. I write when I have time. I am curious about almost everything, and I love playing with words."