Best Resources for Poets and WritersWinning Writers
IN THIS ISSUE

Recent Honors for Our Subscribers

Recent Publication Credits for Our Subscribers

Links to Award-Winning Poems

"Lucifer on Air Strikes" by G. Lloyd Helm, Honorable Mention in the 2004 War Poetry Contest

Featured Poem:
"Un-Donne"


Featured Prose:
"Ino's Love" (excerpt)


Special Offers for Poets and Writers

Advertise in Our Newsletter

"Letter to a Gun from a Head of Oriental Lettuce" by Rick Lupert, Honorable Mention in the 2007 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Newsletter Archives


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WINNING WRITERS NEWSLETTER
Award-Winning Poems: Fall 2009


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Welcome to our Fall 2009 selection of award-winning poems. These quarterly specials are included with your free Winning Writers Newsletter subscription. We'll release our next regular newsletter on September 15, where we'll be announcing the winners of the 17th annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest.

Lost one of our newsletters? Formatting appears odd? Not to worry. All our recent newsletters are posted online at http://www.winningwriters.com/news

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FEATURED SPONSOR'S MESSAGE

Coal Hill Review Coal Hill Review Poetry Chapbook Contest: $250 and Publication
Postmark Deadline: November 1
The 2009 Coal Hill Review Poetry Chapbook Contest is now open. Please submit your manuscripts online at www.coalhillreview.com. Reading fee: $15 to be paid via PayPal (major credit cards accepted). Submit 10-15 pages of poetry, either a group of poems or one long poem. Poems may be previously published. Include an acknowledgements page.

The winning chapbook will be published electronically in Coal Hill Review, as well as in a paper edition. All finalists will be considered for publication in Coal Hill Review. The final judges for the competition are Anna Catone and Philip Terman, poetry editors of Coal Hill Review (see bios). Please address any questions to msimms@autumnhouse.org with the words "CHAPBOOK COMPETITION QUERY" in the subject line.

Please enjoy this poem by James Tyner, part of his winning chapbook entry from 2008:
    Hollywood Trash
    by James Tyner

    We pull monsters from the trash.
    Claws, teeth, the rubber foam
    of alien heads and demon bodies
    lying still among empty wrappers
    and rotten food. Everything
    just waiting to be found.
    I am ten here, and my father
    jabs a mop handle into the pile,
    searching for glass and the looseness
    of garbage, so we don't slip or fall
    too deep into it. We collect monsters,
    throw them into black sacks slung
    over our shoulders. From beyond
    the trash, a door slams, and someone
    shouts, "Fucking Mexicans, get out
    of the trash." And I am happy.
    Rotten milk pools around my left
    foot, and I forget about this werewolf
    as it drops from my hands,
    these hands that are white,
    not like my mother's, not like
    my stepfather's, as he lifts me up,
    and we run to the car,
    pieces of Hollywood
    over our shoulders.


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RECENT HONORS FOR OUR NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to Susan Tepper. Her debut fiction collection DEER and Other Stories will be published by Wilderness House Press in autumn 2009. From the press release: "The deer that populate these 11 stories, whether real deer or imagined, made of skin and blood and bone, used as plastic lawn ornaments, even a wire stage prop, pad in and out of the characters' lives as mirror-images reflecting all the beauty, splendor and fear both species engender." Read a review here.

Congratulations to Patricia Brody. Her poetry chapbook American Desire was published by Finishing Line Press in the 2009 New Women's Voices Series. She kindly shares a poem from this collection below.

Congratulations to Persephone Vandegrift. She won first prize of $150 for her short-short story "The Final Sacrifice" in the 2009 Flash Fiction Contest from the Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine. This online journal sponsors several contests a year; see website for dates and genres. Three poems by Vandegrift have also been published in the Copperfield Review, an online journal for readers and writers of historical fiction.

RECENT HONORS FOR POETRY CONTEST INSIDER SUBSCRIBERS
Congratulations to Nancy Rakoczy. Her poem "Eve Dreaming" was one of three $100 Grand Prize winners in the 2009 Dancing Poetry Contest sponsored by Artists Embassy International. Natica Angilly's Poetic Dance Theater will choreograph and perform interpretive dances based on the winning poems at AEI's annual festival in San Francisco later this month. The most recent deadline was May 15. Nancy says, "I found this competition on your site. Thank you!"

RECENT PUBLICATION CREDITS FOR OUR SUBSCRIBERS
Alvin T. Ethington had a haiku published in issue #47 of Mayfly, which he has kindly permitted us to reprint:
a pencil sharpens
my father's dementia


Marianne Sciucco's story "Ino's Love" was published in the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of Kaleidoscope. Published semiannually by United Disability Services of Akron, Ohio, this award-winning journal explores the experience of disability through literature and the fine arts. Fiction, painting, sculpture, poetry, nonfiction, book reviews, and theater are all featured in various issues. The material chosen for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes stereotypical, patronizing, and sentimental attitudes about disability. "Ino's Love" is the story of an elderly woman sharing Christmas dinner with her home health aide. Ms. Sciucco kindly shares an excerpt below.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has recently been published in the following literary journals: "ekatra iva alambana aneka utkranti" and "santa styana bhauma bheda sva" in Gulf Coast, "hagiography by the jordan" in Literary Bohemian, "res signata restituere retributio" in New Orleans Review, "pitcairn canticle (of canticles)" in Pinch Journal, and "homeostasis, then hypergraphia" in Versal. In June, The Urbanwire ran an interview profile on Desmond, as well as reprinted the poems "Bulletin D", "pitcairn hierarchy" and "love song of empress wu", the last of which was also featured as an audio recording.


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Closing This Month
Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its seventh year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded, plus five High Distinction awards of $200 each and six Most Highly Commended Awards of $100 each. The entry fee is $7 for every 25 lines you submit. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. This contest is sponsored by Tom Howard Books and assisted by Winning Writers. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31, 2010
Now in its 18th year. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. Submit any type of short story, essay or other work of prose, up to 5,000 words. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. $15 entry fee. Submit online or by mail. Early submission encouraged. Winning Writers is assisting with entry handling for this contest. Judges: John H. Reid and Dee C. Konrad. See the complete guidelines and past winners. (The results of the 17th contest will be announced on September 15, 2009.)

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest - No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1, 2010
Winning Writers invites you to enter the ninth annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. We've simplified the entry process and increased the prize pool to $3,600, including a top prize of $1,500. There's still no fee to enter. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.


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LINKS TO AWARD-WINNING POEMS

THE YEAR WE BLEW UP THE WHALE—FLORENCE, OREGON
by Nick Lantz
Winner of the 2009 Felix Pollak Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline: September 30
The University of Wisconsin Press offers this long-running, prestigious poetry manuscript contest with a $2,500 prize. This bleakly matter-of-fact narrative from Lantz's collection Asymptote catalogues how suffering often finds its outlet in self-defeating violence.

CRETE and other poems
by L.S. Klatt
Winner of the 2008 Juniper Prize for Poetry
Postmark Deadline: September 30
This $1,500 award from the University of Massachusetts Press alternates between a first-book prize (deadlines in odd-numbered years) and a prize for subsequent books (deadlines in even-numbered years). Klatt's Interloper won the 2008 award. These compressed, enigmatic poems juxtapose figures of privilege and deprivation occupying a single moment in time, leaving the uneasy reader to make sense of the tension between them.

MOLT and other poems (PDF)
by Claire Hero
Winner of the 2007 Caketrain Chapbook Competition
Postmark Deadline: October 1
This $250 prize from the literary journal Caketrain alternates between fiction and poetry chapbooks (2009 is poetry). In this selection from Hero's innovative collection afterpastures, the darkness and strangeness of animal consciousness is captured in densely textured words used in unusual ways (such as "foxing" as a verb).


We are gathering a growing library of award-winning poems in Poetry Contest Insider, over 125 to date. Enjoy a wide range of today's best work. Sign up for a free trial.


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FROM OUR CONTEST ARCHIVES



2004 WAR POETRY CONTEST—HONORABLE MENTION

LUCIFER ON AIR STRIKES

by G. Lloyd Helm

The jets! How beautiful they are!
Like arrows thirsty for hearts blood.
Birds so smooth in flashing speed
That flesh and feathered beasts
Which fly by hearts labor are nothing!
These other birds, these jets—
They fly by fire!
They consume in rav'ning gulps so swiftly taken
They are passed before they can be seen.
Those other birds just live—
Sowing seed of grass and flower
Which grow and bend beneath the driving wind.
And they continue!
They renew themselves and all the filthy grass
Which greens the earth—
But the other birds—the jets—
The flowers that they sow do not renew.
They burst and roar and spread on gusts of wind
    which they create,
When Napalm blooms upon the waving grass.
A wind which bends all things before it,
And carries a perfume so sweet it cannot be forgot
Through all eternity.
They bring eternity, the jet sown flowers,
Ushered in with orange and crimson petals
Of delicate devouring flame as ravenous for earth
As streaking jets are hungry for the sky.
Wondrous birds! Delicious blossoms!
Reeking buds in damnation's door yard
Carried to the earth on back swept wing
With blazing hearts and empty souls.
And when the fires bloom I smile
Remembering that when creatures burn
I am nearer than any other time.
I am marvelous near.


Copyright 2004 G. Lloyd Helm


This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2004 War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author G. Lloyd Helm received a $50 award. See the judge's comments on the winning poems from this contest.


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SPONSORS' MESSAGES

Robert Frost Foundation Last Call!
13th Annual Robert Frost Foundation Annual Poetry Award
Postmark/Email Submission Deadline: September 15
The Robert Frost Foundation welcomes poems in the spirit of Robert Frost for its 13th Annual Award. The winner will receive $1,000 and an invitation to present the winning poem this fall at the Frost Festival located at the Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the library in which Frost first explored the traditions of English and Irish poetry.

This year's judge, Jarita Davis, is a poet and fiction writer who earned a B.A. in classics from Brown University and both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. She was the writer in residence at the Nantucket Historical Association and has received fellowships from the Mellon Mayes program, Cave Canem and Hedgebrook. In addition, she was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Travel Research Grant, a Neiheisel Phi Beta Kappa Award, and a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Her work has appeared in the Southwestern Review, Historic Nantucket, Cave Canem Anthologies, Crab Orchard Review and Plainsongs.

Please submit two copies of each poem, one copy with contact information (name, address, phone number, email address) and one copy free of all identifying information. Reading fees are $10 per poem (send fees via regular mail, please). Make your check payable to The Robert Frost Foundation. Mail your entry to: The Robert Frost Foundation, Attn: Poetry Award, Lawrence Public Library - 3rd Floor, 51 Lawrence Street, Lawrence, MA 01841. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) or an email address if you'd like to receive the contest results. Email submissions are accepted at frostfoundation@comcast.net if you send your entry fee by regular mail.

You may submit up to three poems of no more than three pages each. Both published and unpublished works are accepted. See the complete contest guidelines at www.frostfoundation.org.

Please enjoy "Orphans" by Leslie McGrath, a finalist poem in last year's competition:
    Orphans
    by Leslie McGrath

    Because it is a wild thing and will not come to us
    Bill pulls the dinghy from its slip in the barn
    and carries it to the vernal pond
    —stepping over a rune of feathers at its edge—
    launching himself
    with a pair of oars and a slice of wheat bread
    calling to it, the awkward yellow gosling
    orphaned by a neighbor's truck and the press of time.

    Ninety thousand dead in China's awful shudders,
    a hundred thousand lost in Burma
    as we call across stagnant water
    in the rising dusk of a Connecticut farm
    to a closer suffering which will not answer
    because it is a wild thing and should not come to us.


SUBMIT ONLINE TO CARPE ARTICULUM!
Carpe Articulum Literary Review


Closing Next Month
$3,000 in prizes for poetry & short fiction: CUTTHROAT, A JOURNAL OF THE ARTS
Postmark Deadline: October 10
CUTTHROAT, A Journal of the Arts announces the 2009 Joy Harjo Poetry Award & the Rick DeMarinis Short Story Award. First Prize in each genre: $1,250 and publication in CUTTHROAT. Second Prize in each genre: $250 and publication in CUTTHROAT. All finalists will be acknowledged in CUTTHROAT and considered for publication. Winners are announced in POETS & WRITERS and the AWP Chronicle.
CUTTHROAT: A Journal of the Arts
To enter our 2009 Joy Harjo Poetry and Rick DeMarinis Short Story contests, send three unpublished poems (100-line limit each) or one unpublished story (5,000-word limit), a self-addressed stamped envelope (mandatory!), a cover sheet with name, address, email and telephone, and a $15 reading fee for each submission to CUTTHROAT Literary Award, Attn: [Poetry Contest or Short Story Contest], P.O. Box 2414, Durango, CO 81302.

No author name may appear on your manuscript. Enter as often as you wish. Please see the complete guidelines on our website. Send all inquiries to cutthroatmag@gmail.com or call 970-903-7914. This year's judges are Dorianne Laux (Poetry) and Alan Cheuse (Short Story). Past contributors to CUTTHROAT include Marvin Bell, Joy Harjo, Michael Waters, Rebecca Seiferle, Michael Blumenthal, Naomi Shihab Nye, Patricia Smith, Richard Jackson and Andrei Codrescu.

Our congratulations go to the 2008 winners:
    Joy Harjo Poetry Competition
    First Prize: Naomi Benaron of Tucson, Arizona for her poem, "Healer"
    Second Prize: Michael Lee Phillips of Ridgecrest, California for his poem, "How The Hard Rains Did Fall"

    Rick DeMarinis Short Story Competition
    First Prize: Timothy Rien of Pleasanton, California for his story, "Reading The Weight of It"
    Second Prize: Flavian Mark Lupinetti of Central Point, Oregon for his story, "The Opposite of Con"
Now through October 10, we are also accepting poetry and short story submissions for the next print edition of CUTTHROAT. Writers living outside the US may send electronic submissions if your contact information is included on each page. Send 3-5 unpublished poems or one unpublished short story (5,000 word limit) to the attention of the proper editor:
    Pamela Uschuk, Editor In Chief or
    William Pitt Root, Poetry Editor or
    Beth Alvarado, Fiction Editor
    CUTTHROAT, A Journal of the Arts
    P.O. Box 2414
    Durango, CO 81302
Include a brief cover letter and a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for return of manuscript or for an editorial response. We recycle manuscripts. WE DO NOT READ SUBMISSIONS THAT DO NOT INCLUDE SASEs. Please allow 21-24 weeks for a response. Because we have no cultural, racial, gender or regional bias, we welcome all styles and subjects. Our only bias is excellence. For further information, please visit our website.



Closing Next Month
Dana AwardsDANA AWARDS
Postmark Deadline: October 31

For 14 years, since 1996, we've been quietly offering encouragement with the Dana Awards in 3 categories: the Novel, Short Fiction, and Poetry. $1,000 will be awarded in each category.

See our guidelines at www.danaawards.com, email danaawards@pipeline.com, or send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to Dana Awards, 200 Fosseway Drive, Greensboro, North Carolina 27455.

Our purpose is monetary encouragement. All work should be un-awarded (honorable mention or finalist recognition okay, but no monetary awards), unpublished (except to family and friends) and not under promise of award or publication AT THE TIME IT'S SUBMITTED TO US. We're not affiliated with a university or press, so we don't publish. But the good news is that because we don't publish, you may market the same work simultaneously elsewhere and still win Dana Awards.
    What We Are Seeking

    Whether fiction or poetry, the work must be original yet not sensational merely for the sake of sensation, with well-developed themes, and written in a style that exhibits love of language and mastery of craft.

    If fiction, whether literary, mainstream, or genre fiction, the characters must be fully drawn, not stereotypes, and must be engaged in conflicts (either internal or external) that are compelling and show forward momentum.

    Whether poetry or fiction, if it's a universal story (love, death, loss, coming of age, moral responsiveness or failure to respond), it must be told in a fresh way.

    Poems, whether formal or free-verse, must exhibit music and rhythm in the use of language, syntax, line breaks, and structure. A group of words thoughtlessly slung lengthwise down a page is not a free-verse poem; it's a group of words that needs to be made into a poem. A group of words that plays with language, without attempting meaning or message, is not a poem; it's an exercise.

    In 14 years of managing the Dana Awards, I've learned there are thousands of excellent writers out there, which is a heartening but frightening thing: heartening for the sake of literature, but frightening because of the sheer numbers of us looking for recognition (I'm a writer, too).

    Writing is a profession for talented, imaginative, sensitive Gila monsters (legend claims that when a Gila monster clamps its jaws on something it won't let go).

    If you're a Gila monster for writing, send us your work, please.

    Mary Elizabeth Parker, Chair, Dana Awards



Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize
Attention Vermonters: Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize — No Fee
Postmark Deadline: November 15

     150,000
      Pennies
       For Your
        Thoughts...

That's $1,500, and it's the cash award for the winner of this year's Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize contest. The contest, sponsored by Green Mountain Power Corporation and Vermont Life magazine, is open to any Vermont resident or student. There is no fee to enter. Entries may be essays, short stories, plays or poetry. The entry must be previously unpublished and less than 3,000 words. The focus of the work must be: "Vermont—Its People, The Place, Its History Or Its Values." Do not print your name on your work. Provide your name, address, and phone number on a separate sheet.

Entries may be sent to:
    Green Mountain Power
    Corporate Development—Ralph Nading Hill Contest
    163 Acorn Lane
    Colchester, VT 05446
For more information, please call Corporate Development at 802-655-8410 or visit our website.

All participants will be notified of the contest results in early April. Please enjoy "The Paper Cutter" by Sherry Olson, the winning entry in our most recent contest:
    The Paper Cutter
    by Sherry Olson

    Only about seven inches square,
    slightly stained, with a ruler on the top
    and a heavy metal blade ending
    in a graceful curve of handle, it makes
    the same satisfying crunch as a big cutter:
    slice of blade through paper, heavy finish
    of metal, a job done. But it needs sharpening.
    Friends tell me about Ben Corliss, whose trade
    is sharpening, who lives with his wife
    in a trailer, all fixed up, next to a barn,
    who tells me, the cutter not with me
    the first visit, that it should be about two bucks,
    if he can sharpen it at all. Another day
    I drop it off and return to find it working well,
    its metal parts cleaned up, the cutting
    mechanism tightened and stiffer,
    and the blades sharp, with new edges of shine.
    It's a lot better! I fuss with it, trying it out
    on paper scraps from my bag. How much
    do I owe you? And he says a buck.
    I laugh and say that's not enough,
    you told me two, and I was expecting
    to pay at least that. But I hadn't seen it yet,
    he argues. I'm not out to get people's money.
    Only a dollar. His hip, I know,
    is aching from arthritis and the damp weather,
    and I'd found him sitting, waiting for me,
    probably napping, sweet relief from the pain,
    in the tiny room he uses for an office,
    off the barn. I imagine his heart,
    not the bodily pumping one, but the one
    folks like to say, of gold, burnished and soft,
    something, almost, I might carry
    in my pocket, reach in and touch.
    No one could appreciate more than he,
    the little paper cutter with the big blade
    and crunch, still useful, like this good man
    who can sharpen most anything.


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FEATURED WRITING FROM OUR SUBSCRIBERS

Un-Donne
by Patricia Brody

    "John Donne, Anne Donne, Undone" —John Donne's note to his 17-year-old wife upon his imprisonment for their secret marriage.
After they hauled you off to jail,
     leaving me the ruined bed
     the cramps
the moist ache there,

I staggered in cold air
     frail vine stripped     you, the "abler" stalk.
     Vainly I twist toward Sunrise.

Morning-after:     rosy petals blown,
     hearts,     wine-stained bedclothes,     strewn.
     And where's that busy fool

who should have roused us—where, this dawn?
     No warning beam.     Instead of breakfast
     courtyard shouts     boot-stomp     jay-caw
rend     our first unribboned rising.

We dreamed like babes     milk-ravished,
     eyes closed,     but close betrothed.
     Mark this bruise, you breathed, purple beneath

my torn shift.     My throat,     my breast,     used.
     Just hours ago your tongue formed
     all the words I knew.

Love's quick sup—now done?
     Courtier, your wit
     streaks through me. So they

banish you, for lack of fee.     Father!
     You'd dress me in weeds?     None
     come to comfort your sapling-bride;
my door shamed,     my love-bed early graved.

Don't leave me here!
     (The day warms.)     Again... last kiss.
I turn from your sudden vanishing, bewitched.


Copyright 2009 by Patricia Brody

This poem is reprinted from her chapbook American Desire, published by Finishing Line Press in the 2009 New Women's Voices Series.

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Ino's Love (excerpt)
by Marianne Sciucco

A blast of hot air, pungent with the aroma of sautéed garlic, greeted me when I pushed open the door to Ino's third floor apartment. "Is that you, Ruby?" she called from the kitchen.

"It's me," I said, lumbering down the hall, both hands toting large shopping bags stuffed with freshly laundered clothes. The garlic smell grew more overpowering with each step.

"This place is like a hothouse," I complained, breathless. I dropped the bags on the kitchen floor and looked around in dismay. Onion and garlic skins, eggshells, and empty containers of ricotta cheese and tomatoes filled the sink. Dirty dishes littered the counter top. Breadcrumbs crunched under foot. “What are you up to, Ino? I left this place spotless yesterday."

"I'm making dinner." Ino turned from the stove with a wooden spoon in one hand, her apron spattered by her efforts. "Company's coming," she said, a broad grin lighting up her wrinkled face. Tomato sauce simmered on the back burner, filling the room with its fresh, sweet smell.

"And who might that be?" I asked, tugging off my coat. As far as I knew, Ino never entertained. Most of her dinners were delivered by Meals on Wheels. Her only visitors were the lady in 3B, Father O'Brien, the visiting nurse, and the UPS man.

"Ray," Ino said proudly, her lips wrapping around the name like a kiss. "He called this morning. Said he was on his way. Said he had business in the city." She went back to stirring her pot. She was barely five feet, with a slight dowager's hump and skinny arms. Tiny pin curls dotted her head. A man's wool sweater, worn at the elbows and missing a few buttons, was draped over her pink housedress. Thick white socks covered her swollen feet and ankles, and her slippers sagged at the heels.

Innocenzia Bellarosa, my afternoon client. The agency sent me five days a week, four hours each day, to assist her with light housekeeping, remind her to take her pills, and see that she bathed. We'd been together almost two years.

I slipped off my snow-encrusted boots and placed them by the radiator on a stack of newspapers. "Is that right?" I asked. Her son, Ray, hadn't been by since he'd hired me to watch over his mother.

"I'm making all his favorites: meatballs and manicotti, a little antipasto, some garlic bread. I even have cannolis from Ferrara's."

I moaned, exasperated. "Ino, you're going to wear yourself out with all this cooking. And you're out of the hospital not even two weeks." Diabetes and heart failure sent her to the hospital a couple of times a year, and she hadn't fully recovered from the latest bout. "Dr. Kaplan will have a fit."

"Oh, don't you worry about Dr. Kaplan." She waved the spoon at me. "What he don't know won't hurt him."

"He'll know if you end up back in the hospital."

"Honey, I feel just fine. I feel wonderful. Ray's coming. He'll be here at four o'clock."

I glanced at my watch: Almost half past twelve. "Wait a minute, Ino. Where did you get all this food? You didn't go out, did you?" It was almost impossible for her to climb the stairs to her apartment.

"Of course not," she laughed. "I had it delivered." She'd lived in Little Italy all her life and knew everyone on Mulberry Street. "But I forgot a few things. Will you go to the store for me? I need fresh greens, and a nice tomato, ripe and firm, not pale and mealy. And a bottle of Chianti, a good label, nothing cheap."

"You're going all out," I muttered. I grabbed a broom, swept up the breadcrumbs and deposited them into the trashcan.

Ino didn't budge from the stove. "Hush, Ruby. He's my son. And it's the night before Christmas Eve. This is our Christmas dinner." She salted the tomato sauce, dipped the spoon into the pot, and raised it to her lips for a taste. "Like my mother's," she sighed.

Ino made the best sauce I'd ever tasted. She hadn't made it in ages. The acid upset her stomach. "You know all this is not good for your diet," I reminded her. "How was your sugar this morning?" I fished the eggshells out of the sink and dropped them into the trash.

"My sugar was perfect," she said.

"Did you take your insulin?"

"Of course."

Ino suffered mild memory loss. Missing her medications meant big trouble. I checked her pillbox and counted the pre-filled insulin syringes to make sure that her morning doses had been taken. No trouble today.
...




Copyright 2009 by Marianne Sciucco

Read the rest of the story in the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of Kaleidoscope, available for purchase here.


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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Join the Countdown to International Literacy Day
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FROM OUR CONTEST ARCHIVES

2007 WERGLE FLOMP HUMOR POETRY CONTEST—HONORABLE MENTION

LETTER TO A GUN FROM A HEAD OF ORIENTAL LETTUCE
by Rick Lupert

to George W. Bush

Dear gun,
Why you kill so? Future in salad
not in bang ouch bleed dead!
Sliced Cucumber, not pow pow
Little shaved carrot, not boo boo boollets
You shoot. I health food
You make war. I make metabolation!
Oh gun, your mother and I is friends
she is a waste disposal cylindar
in Stockton. I met her in back of farmer market
she say "my son go bang bang all time
why he can't be nice salad base?!"
I promise to introduce to daughter
she work as three tined spoon
you both metal. make beautiful love
and some kind baby like stainless steel pepper shaker
Oh gun. Stop de kill.
Like me. go inside people mouth.
pre-main course, not trigger projectile hole somewhere.
Signed, Head of Oriental Lettuce (I a girl lettuce head)


Copyright 2007 Rick Lupert

Sent as a joke to Poetry.com [the version operated by now-defunct Watermark Media], this poem won an honorable mention in the 2007 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest sponsored by Winning Writers. Author Rick Lupert received a cash prize of $72.95. See the judge's comments on winning poems from this contest.


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COMING IN OUR SEPTEMBER 15 NEWSLETTER
Winners Announced for the 17th Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
The Best Free Poetry Contests for September 16-October 31