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Cholla Division First Prize        Maurine E. Haltiner, Salt Lake City, Utah

There Are Some

I have never forgotten.  David was predator, all
muscle and quiet rage.  From Take Down to Cradle,
hand-holds secure as anchored talons, his moves

lightly wing-loaded—Arm Bar, Headlock,
Breakdown—he never settled for less than a Pin.
I welcomed this golden boy.  I took him to task

for rash laughter and outbursts in class.  He took
hall timeouts in a squat, saying they toned
leg muscles.  He seldom capitulated from a notion,

knew what he knew as surely as an eagle, lazy
in the air, spots a mouse and takes a dive.  He said
Tess of the d’Urbervilles asked for what she got.

A defensive Bridge foils a Fall was his way
of putting it.  Years later he returned for a visit.  I asked
how he’d put it for Vietnam.  He never answered

in more than uncertain terms, hedged
on the edges of the mat—Gut Wrench, MP, not
so bad.
 It was late in the day.  I was tired.

There was his dog-tagged page in Oedipus, our brief
visit with the Sphinx.  He eased away.  I didn’t see
the future any more than he, any more

than the Sphinx who dumps casualties after each
rollout of her tangled words.  His obituary
detailed a short acting career.  Reviews of his last

performance said he howled like Olivier reborn, raked
his eyes with golden pins, reeked of every scent
of blindness—a technical fall, he’d have called

it.  Weeks later he stepped off a chair

Cholla Division Second Prize   Cynthia Lukas, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Snakeskin in Winter

You have been gone now for months
But your skin remains in its full length intact
Diamond facets shining in the winter sun
Just off the footpath into the wilderness

Every day we see it as we pass
Grasping onto the faith it must have taken
For you to shed your entire encasement
Then move on without a glance backward

There is beauty in such abandonment
An intricate, diamond-cut, timeless beauty
In knowing what to let go when moving on to your next life
In knowing deep inside when it is time to go

Cholla Division Third Prize      Lynda La Rocca, Twin Lakes, Colorado

How I Know

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here. - Sylvia Plath
How can it still be winter
when I’m melting to
a soup of cells,    
a flick of eyelash, bits of bone,
one soggy slice of fingernail,
the stink of scorching fat,
a metal pot is jumping, rattling on the stove.

Outside the window is
a bear,
I smell its matted fur,
rust-stained and wet,
it glistens, grunts, and snorts,
black snout,
its nostrils flaring.
Great claws are shredding, gouging shutters,
ripping, tearing off the wood—
yet these shape-shifters do not rise
when all the ground is spread
with crusted snow—
and this is how I know
the earth has turned,
the soft, round, secret bulbs
are pulsing, pushing, petaling
in bursts
of yellow, scarlet, purple.

Look now—
the cups are opening like mouths.


Chaqueta Division First Prize      Philip Levin, Biloxi, Mississippi

Rain Wouldn’t Come

Corn stalks shriveled like farmers’ faces
Ground parched and brown created jagged cracks
Tumbleweeds rolled across dust-covered sands
Barrel stave cows shivered in hunger
Their dull eyes over jaws too dry to voice
Wells yielded buckets of angry black mud
Trees dropped hairdos, prematurely browned
Paint-peeled barns shuddered in despair
Vultures alone found dinner aplenty
Pirate bands picking at the fallen, leaving
Bleached cattle skulls with staring black holes
Ranchers draped over broken fences
Lips of blistered burlap seed bags
Drooped eyebrows, providing scant shade
Over cataract-eyed forlorn gazes
Staring resentfully at relentless sky
Exhausted windmills turned uselessly in rare 
          taunting winds
Until one night
The weathervane creaks, a shift in the winds
           Stars snuff behind banks of dark promise
Indian ghosts pound thunder on the tom toms
Night skies brighten in electrical jags
Rat-a-tat-tat across the tin roofs
The rooster announces the glory of relief
Clouds roll away revealing golden dawn
A miraculous green flushes fields
Clover, flowers, gullies awash with sparkling 
Life returns

Chaqueta Division Second Place       Karma K. Wasden, St. George, Utah

Cherry Creek, Nevada

Abandoned red brick house,
doors and windows gone,
town show-place in late 1880’s.
Gray, swaybacked lumber houses,
empty log cabins, huts, bare rock foundations
stone walls of uncovered basements,
once lodged eight thousand souls,
now mostly heaps of debris.
Tumbleweeds huddled in sheltered spots.
Half-fallen building sports fading sign—
Saloon—last of twenty-eight.
Train tracks covered by sage brush.
Remnants of crumpled rail-line water tank
sinking slowly to the ground.

Tucked in foothills of windswept, hundred-mile valley.
On northeast corner of intersection labeled
Cherry Creek and Main,
atop two weathered pine shelves,
forty-three mailboxes perch precariously,
grayed white, rusty tin, muddled red,
doors missing or hanging down
like tongues of panting dogs,
sway haphazardly in the wind.
Ghosted letters spell out names 
of long forgotten miners—
Beal, Steptoe, Craven, Tallkitten, Myers—
hungry for news as well as wealth.

Chaqueta Division Third Place     Maurine E. Haltiner, Salt Lake City, Utah

Shades of Kokopelli

I stumble beside you near goldenrod
and Indian paintbrush.  Swaying on a wedge
of limestone, the shadow
of one green stem—gently leafed, delicately
flowered—mimics legs, hump, flute,
headdress, spirited sex.  This moment
I am Anasazi, lacking
only charcoal from last night’s fire

to celebrate you in bragging 
outline.  I step closer, merge our silhouettes
in mutual eclipse.  Anna’s hummingbirds
and northern flickers dip and dart
to the rhythms of your flute, its fanciful
notes echoing across
slot canyons, clicking through boughs
of pinon and ponderosa.  I carry you home
curled in my hand.  In brash moonshine
you become black Stork
of the Hopi.  I welcome your hump-bag
of unborn spirits, our night
meetings agreeably
brief.  You disappear
when naked boughs
of mountain mahogany, leaves
winter-stripped, whip
shadows over sterile
snow.  March sunshine swells

desert willows.  Twig legs reappear
followed by budding flute, leafy humpback,
head feathered with catkins.
A breeze rouses
easy branches.  Plumes waving,
you jig
into the overworld
of colossal shadows on red sandstone, trump
Plato’s forms, fruitless
in their cold cave.


Chaparejos Division First Prize                 Kathleen Mc Clung, San Francisco, California

The Year We Memorize Planets

I watch the sisters climb three steps and go
inside Rosellen’s house.  When they see me
they beam and wave.  I wonder what they know

about the girl who studies them.  Dad murmurs, “Low
IQ.”  We rake more brittle leaves.  “Be neighborly.
Don’t stare.”  The sisters climb three steps.  They go

to special ed., east Sacramento.
A small bus honks and idles every day, empty.
They beam and wave.  I wonder what they know

about tonsils, Neptune, or polio,
quicksand or mushroom clouds, infinity.
I watch the sisters climb three steps.  Perhaps they go

into a pink bedroom like mine, lift a window
and listen to the rain, to sirens, black phoebes.
The sisters beam and wave.  I wonder what they know

and what they say at night when sleep is slow
to come, when branch on glass clinks mystery.
I watch Rosellen’s daughters climb three steps and go.
They beam and wave.  I wonder what they know.

Chaparejos Division Second Prize      Barbara Blanks, Garland, Texas

Here Be Dragonflies

Perhaps I may not often speak
of my obsession for unique
        creative modes of dragonflies
        in any art that glorifies
        their shapes, for they epitomize
the athlete’s trim and fit physique.
A dynamo in air, as sleek
        as cat and just as agile, flies
        with acrobatic skill—defies 
        the laws of gravity, relies
on long and narrow winged-technique
to hover, flit, fly backward, streak
        across a pond to catch a prize—
        mosquitoes, wasps, and other flies—
        voracious feeders for their size.
As earrings, paintings, and batik,
art captures dragonfly mystique.


Chaparejos Division Third Prize         Linda R. Payne, Defiance, Ohio

Grand Canyon Suite

Relentlessly the river flows,
a chisel in the Sculptor’s hand,
it toils and labors to expose
a masterpiece from hardened land.

A chisel in the Sculptor’s hand
reveals a panoramic view,
a masterpiece from hardened land.
The Sculptor works to smooth and hew,

reveals a panoramic view
the process of millennia.
The Sculptor works to smooth and hew
a stunning rock-walled atria

the process of millennia.
The river forms this cavity,
a stunning rock-walled atria,
vast layers of antiquity.

The river forms this cavity;
it toils and labors to expose
vast layers of antiquity.
Relentlessly the river flows.


Chimera Division First Prize               Kolette Montague, Centerville, Utah

Last Man Standing
(in parts)

Plagues, pestilence, global warming, carbon 
devastation, annihilation, extinction.

I survived the cold war
with occasional knocks on the head
scooting under my school desk.

I must have lived through 
the sixties, I’m here now.

But lately I’ve been worrying
about zombies.

Garlic against vampires.
Snapping fingers against elephants.
I’m not sure winking keeps zombies at bay.

If zombies didn’t exist
we’d have to invent them.

And let’s face it, some zombies aren’t 
worth the trouble it takes to dig them up.

Is it ghoulish to hope the zombies lurch
to my neighbor’s house before mine?
If one stumbles close enough
do I give him a hand?

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Nobody who?
Nobody to speak of.

Chimera Division Second Place             Shane D. Williams, Washington, Utah

Show Your Work

I counted to eleventeen,
divided that by y,
multiplied by forty-twelve,
and had a piece of pi.

I climbed up a geometree,
applied a cute subfraction,
minimized a polly-gone
with angular protraction.

I calculated clockwise in
an algorythmic section,
denominated digits with 
math’matical perfection.

I summed up some sum differences,
then solved the quadric core . . .
And that is how I figured out
that two plus two is four.

Chimera Division Third Place             Beth Staas, La Grange Park, Illinois


Enough about flowers and sun
or the robins that sing tra-la.
Let’s hear it instead for pickles,
the ones that reek with garlic
to make the Reuben come out just right.

And I’m all for prunes or purple plums
that also make things come out right.
There are other rights like the Constitution
along with the Bill of Rights,
enough reason to celebrate the afterthought
and the Bible with its ever-after.

Then there’s left—both left-behind
and those who live in a right-handed world.
Think of left-overs like globs in the fridge
as well as left-brain that sums such matters
with digital perfection.

Arch supports deserve a big hand,
(I mean the kind that last)
and there’s something special
about the arch remark, the sweep of the brow
and the sweeping statements that make no sense
even though there are five to choose from.

Whatever counts is worth the measure
and uppermost in the passage of time
like the bong sounding from Big Ben
or the dinner bell and Home on the Range
depending on whether it’s too hot
(that is, weather or range).

But most important is the springy curl
at the nape of your neck
and the spring in your step when confronted
with surprises that spring full-blown,
filled with tooting whistles, paper hats, plastic
bringing us around to the beginning
if ever there was one.        

Grades 10 - 12

First Place  - Makalee Richardson 
Susan Hasenwinkel, teacher

A Man Run-down

Friends are heard from near and far
As I sit on this musty old floor
Me and my friends, we like to spar
Sometimes there is a full on war
To the point where the tears pour
Then unknown faces in strange gowns
Calm me and then ignore
I know they think I am Run-Down

My friends they say are bizarre
And only there so I can adore
But that is strange like my scar
I seem to be getting more
The solution is what I’m looking for
When the faces see it, they frown
Their mouths must be sore
I know they think I am Run-Down

I’d go to the local reservoir
But I can’t even go to the store
Or even drive a car
I’m stuck with this ugly décor
That is bland and such a bore
I’m the talk of the town
I talk to my friends until I snore
I know they think I am Run-Down

Second Place - Alison Campbell
Travis Roberts, teacher

Just a Name upon a Page

Your mortal remains were hastily laid
        Within the shifting sands
That the mighty Mississippi thereafter claimed.
        Currents and courses of a river
Cannot be contained, controlled, restrained.

Doubtless you thought death would pass you by,
        For why would it pause
For a young man of twenty-five?
        Bullets didn’t pierce your hide,
Yet the body that once overflowed,
        Glowed with health, still died.

Has someone come across your name,
        A distant, dead, fading notation on some family line?
You were mentioned briefly in a scantily read text,
        The story of a common soldier
Who fondly recalled one he thought of as a friend.

He spared a paragraph or two for the sensible young fellow
        Who, like him, enlisted in a civil war.
But, unlike you, he lived to see it through.
        Neither the chaos of battle
Nor the attending conflicts of body and mind
        Ushered him away from those bloodied days.

The details of your life and death
        Do not reside in any mortal man’s living memory.
Is it inevitable that someday I, like you,
        Will join the legions once of this world
That had an impact, influence, significance
        Beyond our recognition and definition?

Third Place - Rachel Spencer
Chelsea Judd, teacher    

Fear Is a Flightless Bird

Fear is a flightless bird grounded,
surrounded by egocentric cats.
There’s no flying south away from the cold
for birds stuck here among the reckless and the bold,
stuck here in the dirt beneath the rats and democrats.

Fear is a flightless bird, and, although
a wingless crow might sound absurd,
it’s something some of us dread.
It’s not knowing what’s up ahead
no matter what you’ve heard.

And even if you try to climb up 
onto a building, closer to the sky,
you’ll come plummeting down
toward ground because, obviously,
flightless birds can’t fly.

It’s that fear of falling that stops these birds from calling,
calling out like most birds do with a chirp or a caw.
The ones who can fly leave the ones who can’t in awe,
dropping to the earth, one by one, falling into fear, appalling.

It’s hard to fly when the lines are blurred.
It may sound odd, but take my word.
Fear is a flightless bird.


Grades 6 – 9

First Place - Breanna Olsen
Lise Duraes, teacher

In Exterior Space

I am drifting all alone,
a lonely asteroid in Space,
drifting past the Oort Cloud
into Exterior Space.

           In Exterior Space
it is a mystery.  What is out there
beyond me?
Darkness is all I see so far.
Nothing is what I hear,
for there is no sound in Space.

It is lonely out here.


Second Place - Ashley Perry Owen
Reuben Wadsworth, teacher

I Got This

My heart is pounding.
We’re 2 points down.
The crowd’s on their feet.
It’s my serve.  I got this.
Deep breath.
Toss but not too high
Step but not too far.
Hit but not too hard.
Ball’s up.  Ace.
My serve again down by 1.
I got this!
Toss, step, hit.  Here we go.
Game on, ball is playable.
Follow the ball they bump.
They set their hitting.
Move your feet.  Here it comes.
You, you, you get a good pass.
Me, me, me.  Drop my elbows.
Shape the ball.  Good set.
I got this.  Perfect set, it’s in the air.
Right, left, right, left, jump,
hit, kill the ball.  Score.
Tied game 24-24.  My serve again.
My heart is pounding, adrenaline rushing.
Deep breath.  
Toss but not too high.
Step but not too far.  
Hit but not too hard.
Ball’s up.  I got this.

Third Place - Charlee Abbott                                                                                                                                   Reuben Wadsworth, teacher


Sports are sometimes very
difficult, but you have to be
encouraging to yourself.
So she was as cheerful as 
the crowd.  The crowd Aw-w-w-wed
and applauded like they never had

As the crack of the bat
echoed through the stadium,
the ball whistled 
in the wind.  The
crowd roared in

The ball disappeared into
the sun.  He ran faster than
the speed of light.  It started
raining cats and dogs, so
they had to postpone the game.


Grades 4 & 5

First Place - Harrison Christiansen
Shelly Larsen, teacher

(a reverse poem)

Falling                                                 It seems the sky is
Down from the sky                               Going on forever
Jumping out of plane                            Finally landing
Wind blowing through hair                    Feet about to touch ground
Soaring like an eagle                            Landing with parachute
Coming closer to the ground                 Coming closer to ground
Landing with parachute                        Soaring like an eagle
Feet about to touch ground                  Wind blowing through hair
Finally landing                                     Jumping out of plane
Going on forever                                 Down from the sky
It seems the sky is                              Falling

Second Place - Makinlee Ray
Brenda Bringhurst, teacher

I Wonder

I wonder how people become so sick
And how an egg can turn into a chick.
I wonder why the sky is blue
And why there are sticky things like glue.
I wonder why our world has colors
And why I got two older brothers.
I wonder why we have school every day
And how we can learn so many things in a day.
I wonder why glow-sticks glow
And how the wind can blow, blow, blow.
I wonder why onions are so gross
And why each foot has five little toes.
I wonder how people can swim in water
And how some people are so good at soccer.
I wonder why wedding dresses are fancy
And why a character’s name is Nancy.
I wonder why knives can slice
And why soy sauce is good on rice.
I wonder why tramps are so bouncy
And why my dog is so pouncy.
I wonder why there is left and right
And how people can lift heavy and light.
I wonder . . . .

Third Place - Tasia Smith
Ethan Deceuster, teacher

Two Peas in a Pod

At the top of a pea plant, 
        hung a pod of many peas.
Many, many lived in hatred, 
         but two, two were buddies.

Almost never did they bicker, 
        very rarely did they fight,
for that friendly pair of peas 
        had all too many things alike.

Never, to one another, 
        did they shun or cast aside.
Never, almost never, 
        did one leave the other’s side.

They worked things out together 
        when times were seeming rough.
Only when they stuck together,
        only then they could be tough.

So thankful, oh I am,
        I’ve got a fun, amazing friend.
Two peas in a pod, I hope we’ll be,
        forever to the end.


Grades 1 - 3

First Place - Morgan Leavitt
Meghan Staheli, teacher

A  Sight

Dog, dog in the log.
Horse, horse in the course.
        Gator, gator, see you later.
Fox, fox in the box.
Chicken, chicken was a dinner.
Bee, bee on my knee.
Cat, cat wore a hat.
        Fish, fish, clean a dish.
Mouse, mouse in the house.
Monkey, monkey is so funky.
Goose, goose is so loose.
        Oh, my in the light 
        it was a sight!

Second Place - Lily Tilby
Meghan Staheli, teacher

Me and My Brothers

Weston is good and very smart
He is so nice and has a big heart
He likes
To sneeze
And wheeze
And eat cheese
He loves his family

Lily is good and she gets good grades
She wears a dress and cute little braids
She likes
To hop
And skip
And run
Her family’s nice and lots of fun

James is nice and also cute
He likes to wear his little boots
He likes to spin
And also wig
He likes to dance a little jig

Third Place - Kalli Stucki
April Munt, teacher

My Fat Cat

My fat cat sleeping in the sun,
time to get up and have some fun.
You go outside and scratch the tree,
roll in the dirt and come back to me,
fat fuzzy cat.
You are my best friend.
I will love you to the end,  
Meow!  Meow!

Redrock Writers depends on the voluntary efforts of Southern Utah writers who participate in our collective learning, write and read their poetry, and help organize and lead our regular activities. We deeply appreciate the contributions of members of UTSPS Dixie Chapter, the Utah State Poetry Society, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, the Heritage Writers Guild and The League of Utah Writers. We also express appreciation to outstanding poets from across America who participate in blind judging our yearly contest.

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