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Copyright © 2009 - Bookplate - - 112 S. Cross Street, Chestertown, MD 21620 - 410-778-4167
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2nd Place - Joanne S. Scott
Pat Herold Nielsen Poetry Prize
March 5, 2010
Honorable Mention - Mary Wood
2nd Place

Distant Thunder

Across the placid creek,
Predawn to past dusk,
Dull thuds of death
Resound from distant woods
Mingling with explosions from
Aberdeen across the Bay
While family flocks of geese
Drifting with the tide,
Float past as if pulled
By some unseen string.
The heron stretches her long neck
And bends to her reflected image
Engrossed in what is beneath the surface
Unconcerned with punctuations
Separating life from death.

The town tabloid tallies
What, how many birds may
Be killed, bagged, daily
With an approved license:
2 hen mallards, 1 pintail,
2 wood ducks, 1 redhead,
1 fulvous tree duck, 1 mottled duck,
1 canvasback and 1 black duck.
The county paper reports
Six hundred thirty deer
Have been harvested
And pick ups drive by,
Carcasses strapped to fenders,
Dainty hoofs stiffly protruding.

News of slaughter overseas
In the Far east, Africa
Comes to our doorstep.
As the sunlight dapples our morning,
The chaos comes closer
While we peruse the pages,
Over cups of coffee
Selecting only our own images,
Denying what is beneath the surface:
That killing is a way of life.

Joanne S. Scott
Photo Courtesy of Tyler Campbell