you know you want this.

West Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition (3 Poems)

she says, you can never have too many books.

the books are stowed away like refugees, smuggled

from the upstairs closet beside the towels to the kitchen

pantry (replacing the expired boxes of cereal) to mother’s

bedroom to my bedroom to inside the downstairs

wall. this way, they can erase their tracks before getting

too comfortable, wipe away their histories so we cannot remember

where they reside; we cannot bend back their bindings.

one day, mother says, when we have room, when we

finish remodeling, when the holes are fixed, that is when

they will have a proper place, a permanent residence, no longer

shuffled like yard sale tv collectibles. one day seems too

far away, and the pages grow faster than our eyes

can run. age settles in. there are only so many

books one can read.

illegal alien brit lits were discovered in the american classics section

under the stove where there once was rice, and i realize

there is something terribly wrong about this world. my stomach

complains, unable to appreciate c.s. lewis at a time like this,

a time where decisions must be made. where we must

salvage only what needs to be saved, and harvest

what is required for living.


the work ethic I learned from my father

it’s raining; father sits

on his john deer and mows the front lawn.

this is how he dreams. he picks up

splintered side thoughts, dropped

from some place higher, carries

them under his arm like a child.

he gathers these days silently,

and when they are bereaved,

he does not mourn, only drives

forward, the hum of the motor

eaten by the shriek of wind trapped

between two peach trees.


have you ever seen a spring onion? father

took my hand and led it to the grass, pulling

and a stump of white, something I had

to strain my eyes to see. eat it, he told me,

and I tasted the familiar roots, the taste

of dirt and light and years of many errors

and replacements. Father told me how Uncle Rick

would kick the stems and break them,

how despite this, the bulbs would grow larger,

and become fit for cooking. I bend

to examine the stem of the onions, something

I had overlooked so far in years. Hardly discernable

from the grass. I wonder how many of them

have been kicked and uprooted, but overlooked,

not consumed but laying wounded in the grass .

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