by Judson Hyatt
The way they are placed gently in the bottom
of the galvanized bucket so their sibs
have cushion when they arrive.
The way the bucket fills quickly
one after another so the
late-comers can peep over the rim.
The way heat blasts and
sun-shade hats are needed
to avoid the harshness of our star.
The way distant ladders clink and
soft voices filter through
trees and leaves as I lean into a breeze
to grasp real words that have no meaning.
The way dust crumbles soil and sugary ooze
of fallen fruit satiates yellow jackets.
The way sweet sticky drool
runs down my chin
and into my dreams.
The opening stanza of the third-place poem, “Picking Peaches,” took me immediately to a place I wanted to be, and I trusted completely that I would remain in good hands. Like a mystery novel, this short poem begins with one small detail and adds new ones, one by one, until finally at the end it gains enough strength and credibility to burst into a full and satisfying simile.
While living in Ashland, Judson Hyatt wrote essays for a now defunct publication called the Lithiagraph. It was here he learned when and how to capitalize the pronouns mom and dad. Moving on, he wrote a bunch of essays for the no-longer-broadcast local news on JPR in the ’90s. He actually won 1st prize for a poem submitted to OPA in 2012. If you don’t believe him, you can look it up.