Rusty Priske and the Arc Poetry Magazine Board also selected two honourable mentions:
I heave the window open
for a brief breeze. Wafts of pollen
and exhaust greet the burnt beef
as cars queue for burgers and fries.
Roadside, we’re a relief
for long haulers crawling the Prairies,
the local’s spot for a decent shake.
Cramped like a Boler van
with slick floors, I’m never far
from a grilled elbow. Yet I sweat
more from the half-smiles
of old neighbours, as they ask
why I’m back home spiralling
vanilla strawberry sundaes.
Between pickups, extra ketchup,
empty cokes handed back,
I gulp down the view
across the divided highway:
an undeveloped field, waist-high
grass stretching and relaxed
to whatever happens next.
Maybe, indecision is decision.
Maybe I’ll pick east, west, coast,
or capital. Or idle and refill here.
As I wait for customers to pay
I gaze at the leaning thistles
and relish the interval.
Unopened boxes of door knobs collect dust like forgotten Easter bunny chocolates.
Like ants in amber, the bathtub caulking exhibits black dashes of mold.
Hair toupees in bathroom corners.
The mirror reflects specks flecked from floss.
The kitchen cupboard is ashed in ground coffee.
A frying pan needs a reverse scramble to release the caked eggs.
Take-out containers topple like Jenga in the drawer.
A skate lace plays concierge keeping the unlatchable screen door open.
Pine needles carpet the lawn in orange.
The back fence leans, exhausted.
You still have time to enter Arc’s next Award of Awesomeness!