Thursday, June 3, 2010

Winning Poem: Alice P. Thomas

We are happy to present the Grand Prize Winner's poem of 2009's July 1st through September 30th contest.

The Gardener

Prophet of ripening things, he bends over cantaloupes,
Coaxing out secrets, confessions of readiness.
Searching their elephant rinds for slight imperfections,
Godlike, he lifts their small planets,
Holds them up to his ears, shaking them gently
Listening for tumbrels of seeds.
Finally, inhaling their perfume
That proclaims perfection
For the swift sacrifice.
"Ah," Dad says, "This one,
Now, this one is ripe."
He passes it to me. He's always right.
High Priest of growing things, he walks in his Eden.
Each morning plants bend to tell him green secrets.
I'm his acolyte at seven, a disciple in bare feet,
Carrying the chalice for the ordained sacrifice,
A coffee can reeking with kerosene
For fat, pale cutworms to be shaken loose
Dropped, writhing serpents in his garden.
I shudder, holding silently
My grail of obedience.
Dad's been gone twelve years now,
Yet yesterday, when I bent
Over the cantaloupes . . .

By: Alice P. Thomas

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