Featured image: “Giraffe” collage by Linda Hoffman Kimball
First Place: Dayna Patterson
A Goddess in the House
after Wallace Stevens
If there must be a god in the house, must be,
Let her hands be floured, her leaven be light,
Hips wide from birthing eternity. If she walks
Barefoot as moonlight, her robe trailing blue
Bats and tree roots, aching us into insomniac
Daze, best to leave the key under the mat
In case she wends her way back to threshold,
Nightbeetles in her locks, crickets chirping
From deep pockets. Let her speak in a language
Beyond language we don’t remember
Ever learning, or forgetting, before time
Was—a bell’s tongue. She must be capable
Of tricking goodness from us, honey from hive.
She must be a symphony, open, trilling,
As tones are: as air, filling every crevice, is;
As sound, strumming our fine bones, is.
If there must be a god in the house, let her be one
Who exceeds us in stubbornness, and if not heard
In the first, or second notes, or hundred and third,
Let her ring us and wring us with her song.
Honorable Mention (Third): Dayna Patterson
Our Lady of Sandcastles
Holy is the day. Of pool and tide. Of spume and beach. Of barnacle and ball.
Holy is the play of your acolytes in water wings, life vests, swimsuits, pails heavy with dollars and stars.
Holy are the dollars fading from furred purple to bone.
Holy is the sun. And holy are the sun bathers basking, the sea bathers wallowing, the wind bathers lazing,
the sand bathers luxuriating. To bask, wallow, laze, luxuriate. All holy acts. All acts of worship.
Holy is the dragon kite we fold our joy into and send up and up, a tether between us.
Holy is your eye, Gold Goddess, and its mirror in the water, Our Lady of Spindrift, Lady of the Winged Sun.
Holy the moat. Holy the turret. Holy the beach pea speaking in mauve tongues. We bend and hear.
In skin-thin suits, in the pulse of summer, allow us to sprawl, loll, revel, relish, savor. Grant us one
more hour of lounging in our sling chairs, on our tangerine towels, before we succumb to the riptide
of our lives—the desk’s neon hammer and daily new wreck.
Holy the tidewrack. Holy the scalloped shell. Holy the sting of salt.
One more hour to baptize our bodies in your font of grit.
Dayna Patterson is poet, photographer, and textile artist living in the Pacific Northwest, She is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work has appeared recently in AGNI, Tahoma Literary Review, and Thrush. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. She was a co-winner of the 2019 #DignityNotDetention Poetry Prize judged by Ilya Kaminsky. daynapatterson.com