Posted December 6, 2019.

2019 Fall Contest Winner: Theme—Our Common Life, 1st Place

The Porch in Summer

by Lynn Robertson

In the deep of heat, sides of laid-out dogs

rise shallow-quick, their tongues loll limp,

dirt crust fringes their foaming drool.

Wasps circle haze, as if they were

a crumble of leaves with no whisk of wind

to carry them away.

Like an old man’s temper

a film of cake flour dust waits to rise

at the slightest provocation,

And looking down the road

of memory comes a recall of toes

wriggled into the silt floor of river shallows.

Judge’s comments

I selected this poem for the poet’s ability to set a simple stage and then take us inside what might be our own thoughts on any given day in summer. It is these moments in time that lend themselves to a memory of the “little” things: the limp tongue of a dog, a circling of wasps, comparing cake dust and an old man’s temper—both ready to rise. I love the rich images, smooth rhythm, and compact format that capture an ordinary moment and enrich it.

—Toni Lumbrazo Luna

Poet bio

Lynn Robertson resides in Eastern Oregon where she is active in local and regional writing communities. She is also a founding member of an invitational author’s reading and writing workshop series promoting Northwest writers and hosted by the local Center for the Arts.

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