The Scotts Valley Arts Commission announced the winners of its annual “Verse in the Valley” contest June 6 in front of the Scotts Valley City Council. The Press-Banner published winners in the categories for kindergarten-to-third-grade, fourth-and-fifth-grades and middle school students in its June 22 edition. Below are the winning poems from the other three categories.
Cages of porcelain, frames of white
Thoughts of my bones keep me up in the night
Fragile and bendy, so easy to crack
wonder how it would feel if one of them snapped
Squeeze my sides with two hands, feel the ribs bend
Trace the lines through my hips and my wrists and pretend
Rub skin in circles, like paper mache
Fingers tap collarbone, your piano to play
Roll shoulders back, feel muscles flex
Joints popping, skin stretching, the cracking of necks
Brittle and breakable, hollow and thrumming
Put hands on my heart and hear my pulse humming
Feel them curve, feel them twist, feel them crackle and grind
xylophone spines, like shells all aligned
Put together your bones, picture piece by piece
Femurs and ulnas slide into their sheaths
Fill my gaps, hold me up, build me up from the core
All I need is some structure, no less and no more
No bones and I’d just be a puddle of skin
Be my bones for me, and I’ll let you come in
— Maggie Imboden
One Night My Grandma
taught me stories that piggyback stars
from her Santana 22. She sailed us
beyond our dishwater bay; she threw
anchor just before the canyon drop.
As darkness displaced water and sky
she sighed, “You should know that
heaven calls me by name these
days.” Then she said the myths
all the same.
Sunrise blew us back to the harbor;
back to the fishermen who leaned to
her wink and wig’s honey bangs. They
watched, I watched her wince as she
knotted our endless lines. Cancer had
shaken her hands, but her fingers
never forgot the old art.
By noon I was sitting on the sun
warm layer of sand, hunger working
me the way only children understand.
Screams from the Jet Star trailed behind
her as she descended the boardwalk
steps, my saltwater taffy lunch spilling
out of her tanned arms.
Now I want to breathe in the bone
yard behind the elementary school, but
my chest tightens there. She passed
soon after that night.
— Meg Reese
Running, walking, eating
They live in Africa
Zebras are really, really striped
And they are so, so hyped, hyped, hyped.
Zebras eat lots of grass
And we drink out of a glass
Dear, sweet zebras should live in a house;
For that is where I keep my pet mouse.
Playing, loving, standing
They smack each other with their trunks
An elephant walked through the door
Then the elephant fell on the floor
We think an elephant is full of cheer
We’re glad some are born every year.
Chomping, chewing, growling
They are very hungry and vicious
They have fun
In the sun
Crocs are not as big as whales
But they sure love to shake their tails
Crocodiles swim in the Mississippi
And they call each other “hippie.”
Swinging, climbing, ahoohing
Their favorite food is a banana
A monkey is playful and funny
And he likes to eat sweet honey.
Monkeys like to play with dice
While they eat their yummy lice.
While they are really, really awesome
And they like to play with possum
Fighting, roaring, purring
Its cubs are black and orange.
Baby tiger so alone at night
Until the sky is light it will have a fright.
We know the tiger likes to run in the grass
We hope it doesn’t step on glass
Tiger, tiger when it pours
The angry tiger roars
100 pounds of meat you eat
You have sharp claws on your feet.
— Becky McDermott’s second-grade class, Brook Knoll Elementary School