Read the Winning Poems from OPA’s Theme The Moon Category

October 24, 2022



1st Place – to keep them close, Melanie Green

2nd Place – You, Robert Eastwood

3rd Place – You Can’t Move Moonlight, Susan Woods Morse

1st HM – split ends, Daniela Elza

2nd HM – Sapphire Moon, Judson Hyatt

3rd HM – Photograph in Kyiv Post-2022, Carey Taylor

Judge’s Comments:

In “to keep them close” the speaker enters a pre-existing space now rendered inaccessible and deeply metaphysical: a universe of parents, whose life is extended and reflected through this investigation.

“You” deploys surgically precise language and striking, evocative imagery in an injunction against the judgmental rightwing other. The poem sings love free of artificial constraints as it reminds the reader of our shared corporeality, and of our obligation to support others in living their lives unimpeded. 

“You Can’t Move Moonlight” is laconic and eerily effective in drawing the anxiety-inducing panorama of a hospital wing amid the greater world outside, a world into which the patient, lying on a narrow bed, projects their irresolvable longing.

“split ends” constructs a series of surreal, decentering images stitching together, in ways imagined rather than prescribed, the loose fabric of human existence. As in reality, in the poem our lives are comprised of fragmentary impressions that elude chronology and hover in the forefront of memory without aligning.

In “Sapphire Moon” the Earth’s satellite performs the role of a mirror, allowing the speaker to study the reflection of their outer and inner realities, and to attempt synthesis and meaning-making.

“Photograph in Kyiv Post-2022” renders a nuanced, painful picture of a war-infected reality in a place whose peaceful citizens have been forcibly drawn out of their normal lives to participate in someone else’s deadly farce.


to keep them close – 1st Place, Melanie Green

worry   all done now

for my mother    my father

their used-up old bodies

become smoke



become the before a beginning

gravel-throated autumn

brings wind

and the enormity

of leaving

many to love though

so here come worry


brother    friend    other friend

sickness travel round

what be the root of worry

but the want

to hold close

even so

some kind of ease

from the root

of here

bosc pears

porch talk

the up-dangled moon

i got   eyes   ears   tongue

heart wide as night      intimate

as bone

where the lost ones   loved


Melanie Green’s most recent collection of poetry, “A Long, Wide Stretch of Calm”, was published by The Poetry Box. Earlier books are: “continuing bridge” and “Determining Sky”. Her poems have been included in modern dance performances, and she was a participant in the 2000 Word & Hand collaborative arts exploration between poets and visual artists. She has been published in Kosmos Quarterly, Buddhist Poetry Review, The Poeming Pigeon, and elsewhere.


You – 2nd Place, Robert Eastwood

            who don’t see a swing as metaphor

of your childhood, or a fly’s behavior

as diagram of thought, & think about

pleasure as wrapper for sin––you, who block

throughways in towns deep in mid-America,

where, in mass, the righteous disguise their

fear of queerness––do you see that vaguely

colored, omnipresent moon? There are

some who yearn after love as different

as that moon––and you, who escape into

dreams of former ardor on solitary nights,

then, in the morning, get up with regret

on your palms––open a window––let sun

            touch the honest baggage of your body.

Robert Eastwood is widely published. He has four books: Snare (Broadstone Press, 2016), Romer (Etruscan Press, 2018). His third, Locus/Loci, was published in 2019 (Main Street Rag). His fourth book, Cantata Angeleno, was published by Broadstone Press May 1st, 2021.


You Can’t Move Moonlight – 3rd Place, Susan Woods Morse

The moon is sickle shaped tonight.

It comes to you and lingers in the left square

of window pane just above your narrow bed.

How you long for something in the dark just beyond

that light!  The hospital doors have opened to Spring,

their fluorescent bulbs blinking nonstop off – then on

then off again like a mouth gaping, but you don’t enter

their wide width.  

You worry about their apparent invitation.  You worry

that the moon is high, waxing, ringed round in a crown

of promises.  If only you could hear the spring peepers

cheering it all on, if only you would take the needful

step beyond those cold, steely doors.

Outside the moonlight is so bright it drowns

any sounds coming from a myriad of dead mouths

and the constant whoosh of ventilators hovering.

Susan Woods Morse has a Masters degree in Literacy Education. She moved from Maine to Oregon in 2016. She served on the board of OPA and had her first chapbook, In the Hush, published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. Her work has appeared in journals such as Cream City Review, The Mom Egg, Cirque, Willawaw Journal, Aji, and The Poeming Pigeon. She won the NFSPS New York Poetry Forum Award in 2021.


JUDGE A. Molotkov is a supporter of Ukraine. His poetry collections are The Catalog of Broken Things, Application of Shadows, Synonyms for Silence and Future Symptoms. His memoir A Broken Russia Inside Me about growing up in the USSR and making a new life in America is forthcoming from Propitius. He co-edits The Inflectionist Review. His collection of ten short stories Interventions of Blood  is part of Hawaii Review issue 91. Please visit him at

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