Nineteen Forty-five |
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Nineteen Forty-five

Third-Place Winner – 2019 Poetry Contest

         I am lazing around, sharing my attic room
with Cincinnati’s swelter and three more books
from the library—Girl of the Limberlost, Jo’s Boys,
Dr. Doolittle—when the church bells begin to ring
and the kitchen radio raises its decibels, casting
some sort of announcement up the staircase,
and my mother calls me down, takes my little brother
by the hand, walks us outside where the neighbor
women converge in front of Jimmy Doyle’s house—
a half-dozen shrill voices competing with the bells,
still tolling in their high steeples, the city throbbing
in one great vibration, reverberating all the way down
to the river, I imagine, across the bridges and docks
and the polished decks of the beloved Island Queen,
and back up Vine Street to my ordinary block where
the Polish tavern opens early and the tool factory
releases its second shift—workers like my father,
who has passed the age of soldiering—and we all sing
at the top of our homefront voices, Roll Out the Barrel,
Roll Out the Barrel, and for one triumphant August day
                     we have the blues on the run.


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Jeri McCormick, founder of Fireweed Press and long-time teacher of creative writing in senior centers and the Elderhostel program, co-edited two texts on writing with Haworth Press.

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