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SECOND PLACE: 2019 FCAL’s 8th Annual Poetry Competition. Read all the winning poems at Flagler County Art League
Paddling back to camp from the small island
after the heat stroke and the disappointment
had subsided; the others gone on to see
the bald eagle’s nest a portage and lake away,
we came upon a deer standing alone
in the marsh grass along the near shore,
so close we could almost touch it -
a magician’s gift in the yellow light of
afternoon. We froze on an in-breath,
raised our paddles slowly -
and with exquisite care
from the clear green water,
as though the air itself was fragile,
and any sound or movement
would tear us from the moment.
The deer remained unmoving, gazing at us
in what seemed equal fascination -
~ Linda Albert
Bone on Bone
I turned my back on some of your skills
before I really learned them – bridge parties,
lemon tarts with whipped cream piped around the edges,
three layered tea sandwiches without the crusts;
because of all the hours I judged you'd lost there -
the chaotic kitchen, the clean-ups that always fell to me.
I got rid of your impatience
right from the beginning -
the time keeper tyrant
who kept you running until
it seemed to me you missed your life.
In that, I might have gone too far,
and now I want some back.
Your maxims, I weeded out along the way -
though I confess that job took years.
If it's true that God will only help the ones
who help themselves, then who needs God?
Airing dirty laundry in public is sometimes therapeutic.
The bed I make is the not the one I always have to lie in;
There is no actual law.
But I do cherish your English bone china,
that set of thirty two with the gold rim and green border
you bought from Uncle Jack's jewelry store in Ottawa
and confirmed at the Sweet Sixteen
luncheon you made for me.
In fact I think it would please you to know
I use that china every day.
Whenever I take a plate from the cupboard
I share the meal with you. It's easier now
since you've become my guest.
~ Linda Albert
(First published in Voices Israel Annual Anthology 2015)