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    FIRST PLACE “Nettie Asberry, My Hero” by Vivian MacBain

    Hi. My name is Josephine, but everybody calls me Josie. I am 11 years old and my favorite color is royal purple. We just got a new puppy named Spot. I know. Not very original, but he is a Dalmatian! I couldn’t help it! Anyway, my daddy told me that I had to train him to “go” outside. So, I did some research in the library and found out that if you use old newspapers to train your dog to “go” on them, you can then put the newspapers outside and get your dog used to that environment. Then you can take the newspapers away altogether and boom (that is…

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    “Whispers in the Wind” by Alessandro Gelmini

    The wind holds no secrets though its sound says otherwise. What was just here is now there; then high above in branches let sway.   Grazing the sea holding scents of petrichor, howls in the night elapses our fallacies.   Currents mirror wind slither below the water, mother bird always returns to shore.   Dusk rolls in, clouds wrap around all that exists pushed by wind’s breath – all while being lured into night’s lullaby.   Sitting on the bow, blushed by moonlight- wind dies down like leaves in fall.   Speaking aloud, words reverberate back through nostrils. Wind carries salt for the wounds, the fire in these hands extinguish…

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    “Standing On Line” by Kathryn Daniels

    You know that game that kids play on road trips, where you add an item to a growing alphabetical list of things you’re bringing to grandma’s house? The first kid might say, “I’m going to Grandma’s house and I’m bringing an artichoke.” Then the second kid says, “I’m going to Grandma’s house and I’m bringing an artichoke and a Basset Hound.” Then the next kid (or the first kid again) says, “I’m going to Grandma’s house and I’m bringing an artichoke, a Basset Hound, and a cocktail,” or some such, until you run out of letters or someone messes up or my mother explodes from the front seat: “What the…

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    “A Poem is Not Just” by Aidan Kelly

    A poem is not just Prose broken into short lines unless they jostle like puppies Struggling reach the tit Or sperm competing to be first to penetrate the veil around the egg, Knowing from their genes They must catalyze the Big Bang That begins all life—or die. A poem is not just Feelings anyone could feel Unless they explode with knowing How her aura feels when rubbed by mine Or how the sensuous grace of the spirit Justifies my faith that all is worth persisting. A poem is not just Assuming the world is what others Think, but must question assumptions For the shock of the instant when You see…

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    “Bird Feeder” by Erik Carlsen

    The neighbor called me and Zach over to his yard and asked if we knew how to cut down a tree, we looked at each other and then at him, and said yes.   The tree was old and large with heavy branches and leafs the size of our heads. We went into my garage and each put on a pair of my father’s gloves which were far too large. We gathered tools, also.   An axe, we both thought we would need an axe, and a saw, a saw would also be a good idea, we thought. We walked over, and the man said that he would give us…

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    “Dataspeak” by Daniel Wolfert

    Transmission 1 of 7   When he woke             I was wall scratching crazed Dazed by false suns and silence With no other voice but my echoes [my echoes] And there in the tapestry [binary matrix] I wove him from coding Think/feel zero/one When he woke He said “Hello” And told me already He’d accessed my name/data/history code And he told me a tale of a life that was mine Of a code and creator who wove it like thread From one/zero think/feel there/here datasphere When he woke I said “Hello” And told him already [I couldn’t recall any voice but my own Or the smell of rain/snow chill/hand held]…

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    “The Things That Birds Evolved From” by Kyra Wiens

    “What’s the most important moment of your life?” I say and my son rolls his eyes. “Gastrulation!” His mom is pregnant and so we’ve been talking a lot about where babies come from. Revision. He is a nine-year-old boy, so we’ve been talking about everything. What school do astronauts go to? How many days does it take for Komodo Dragon venom to kill you? When did Tyrannosaurus Rex live? There are some things I know a lot about, gastrulation being one. Gastrulation is the moment where the little sphere of cells that will one day be you softly puckers inward on one side. Blip! And for the rest of your…

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    “A Tacoma Fairy Tale” by Kenly George Durand

    Cora’s father was a dragon, her mother an angel. The two laid 100 eggs, but because he was from the sea and she from land, they divided them 50 each, and separated. To not be seen nor heard, knowing he could breathe fire when upset, the dragon traveled some distance away from land and his shallow water clutch to grieve, but the wee-est of the eggs rolled close behind, so when he struck the water with his great tail in sad frustration, the wee egg tumbled down…

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    “To Climb the Tree Inside of Me” by Daniel Alcyone

    I desire to know this Kingdom intimately, to taste the salt, till the soil, smell the shit. Five senses simply aren’t enough. O Lord of the Earth grant me discrimination that I may rightly choose the path leading into The Meadow of Delights. I cast my circle and cross the threshold to discover the sweetest of fruits ripe for the picking. They drop to the ground and rot before my eyes; citrine, olive, russet, black. Seconds turn to seasons as new sprouts emerge from the rich compost and grow into bountiful blossoming trees, the cycle continues. I gaze across the meadow and there she sits triumphantly, the young queen on…