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Poetry Third Place Winner

Featured image: “Zion’s Glory” by Linda Hoffman Kimball

Third Place: Haley Ashton


Breakfast, One Week After the Wildfires

Here, in the kitchen’s dark corner,

I huddle with my early riser, her face

puffy with sleep, while over the toaster’s

glowing gaps we clasp hands,

and red coils warm our fingers

like embers, drawing me

into contemplation.

There, beyond the news photograph,

in a flame-razed neighborhood of ash,

the black-haired teen in a

red t-shirt cradles his mother’s

damp face to his chest— this their

possessionless return—amongst

charred heaps of aluminum siding,

the sun reluctantly rising in a

cinder-choked yellow sky.

Here, the toast springs,

startles the quiet like a campfire

popping in the night, reminding

me of the restless child beside me, and

I butter and thickly jam her slice before mine —

a feeble offering,

but an offering nonetheless,

for them? for her?

to quell some speck of suffering somewhere—

licking from my sticky knuckle

a too sweet strawberry drop.

Haley Ashton is a mother and teacher living in Utah.

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