2020 Spring Contest Winners: Members Only: 2nd Place Winner


Don Kunz       

You build a world from fragments:

A row of decaying Brownstones,

An empty street in the morning rain,

A mud-spattered, much-battered tailgate.

You can’t zoom out enough to frame:

That half-acre Banyan tree in Lahaina,

That treaty site at Medicine Lodge Creek,

That macaque colony reclining on Gibraltar.

You focus on small curiosities:

A book’s fractured spine,

A mirror that hides your image,

A door partially opened to darkness.

You develop disconnections:

Light dying in a coyote’s eye,

The patina on a bronze doorknob,

The threshold we never cross.

Poet’s Bio

Don Kunz taught University of Rhode Island for 36 years. His essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in over eighty literary journals. Don has retired to Bend, Oregon, where he writes fiction and poetry, volunteers, studies Spanish, and plays the Native American Flute. He is a member of The High Desert Poetry Cell, a group of five men who from Bend, Oregon who donate the proceeds from their readings and published books of poetry to non-profit community organizations.

Judge’s CommentsAndrea Hollander

The structure of this image-heavy poem is easy to follow, but the journey we take as we read its sixteen lines is not predictable. The opening line of each 4-line stanza tells us what the you of the poem is doing. Whether or not this you is a photographer, able to frame or not frame various scenes and/or objects is not ultimately important. What is important is the way the poet presents a series of photographic images as the poem moves from wide angle to panorama to close-up to specific elements within a close-up. While that seems an almost predictable pattern, the final gesture of the poem, which contains both an image and what amounts to a comment upon it that cuts away all the visual and gives us an unanticipated and unexpected emotional close.

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