I’m pleased to announce the Fifth Annual Yule Love It Lavender Farm Poetry Contest Winners. This year’s theme was “Sixth Sense of Summer.”

First Place: Liza Young, Sterling Heights, Michigan

A Consequence of Warmth
I am leaning into
the melon,
ready to wedge
the red fruit
for lunch, the voices
of my grown
children laughing
at memories
formed in this
sanctuary, contorted
in time and I ease
into a smile.
A summer breeze
whisks the wind
chimes edging the deck, the tune ethereal
and pleading,
leaves of the sugar
maple barter an answer, and I smile
at the mystery of
language. The pop
crunch of an apple
skin, the rip tear
of celery, the suck slurp
of watermelon,
the symphony
of food, manna
passed hand
to hand like a last supper. The last sputter
of the pot brewing
coffee, its nutty
roasted aroma wafting
the room, the sullen
of a Dexter Gordon
CD and I lean
into my husband’s
shoulder. We share
a smile watching the quiet camaraderie
of our children,
a benediction
at day’s end.
And later, slipped
between his chest
and arm, soaking
in words he has
Again and again
like a covenant,
I breathe to the beat of my husband’s heart
and wonder at the fading cadence of this hosanna.

• • • • •

Second Place: Jack D. Ferguson, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Brunch is best
with family, friends
and winged pollinator,
Papilio glaucus.

Eggs over grits,
coffee and melon;
a common meal
deemed ceremonial
by a butterfly
ruffling marigold petals.

Sunlight coaxes nectar.
Pollen pistils
scrubbed clean
until, in dappled shade,
beneath leaves lent
by a gingko,
we rest, restore, recreate
in quiet Sabbath repast.

• • • • •

Third Place: Anonymous
I drift down the
front porch polished wood steps,
settle on the bottom tread
a choice seat in the evening’s amphitheater.
The sun’s candle
fades in the west.
The leverets emerge from safe harbor in the wetlands weeds,
lap and gnaw the lawn’s new grasses,
under the doe’s
sly watchful gaze.
So much beauty,
so much love.
Overhead, the gulls soar in onshore breezes, kites without strings,
celestial buoys, eastward to open water
and safety for the night. The slow song of
another kingdom.
Mare’s Tails soften
the receding light,
brush strokes
of devotion in the descending coolness.
Shorebirds rattle and
call, lay claim
to secret places on
the beachfront.
So much given,
so few who know. The black rags of loneliness
Cleanse the temple.

Do not hurry. The
calendar has nothing
to do with it.
We are here, in this place, at this moment, the quick wings of twilight,
near the satin water’s edge, like a hundred
or a thousand other places this evening.
I stand to stretch.
It is time when time itself stops to visit and say,
linger, tarry, sit down, I have something
plenary for you.
How long is there
room for love
in your heart?
Does it settle under
a watchful eye?
Does it seek safety on
the shoreline of hope?

Robins will still sing down the eventide.

• • • • •

This year’s contest judge was Diane DeCillis. Her poetry collection Strings Attached (Wayne State Univ. Press) was honored as a Michigan Notable Book for 2015, won the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Award, and was a finalist for the Forward Indie Fab Book. Her stories, poetry and essays have appeared in CALYX, Columbia Review, Minnesota Review, Nimrod International Journal, Connecticut Review, the North American Review, and numerous other journals. She teaches poetry for Springfed Arts and hosts a monthly literary reading series, “Mondays at the Maple” at the Maple Theater in Bloomfield.

Contact Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.