Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 First-Place Winner--Jennifer L. Freed

Our 2017 First Place Winner is Jennifer L. Freed for her poem "At the Middle School Concert."

Jennifer L. Freed’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in literary journals and anthologies including Amsterdam Quarterly, the Common Ground ReviewThe Worcester Review, and Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry; in the medical journals JAMA and Chest; and in a chapbook, These Hands Still Holding, a finalist for the 2013 New Woman’s 
Voices prize. Years ago (before husband, before children), she taught English in China and in then-Czechoslovakia. She now lives with husband and children in Massachusetts. Her website is

At the Middle School Concert
by Jennifer L. Freed

The seventh grade band squeaks
through its festive repertoire,
and the harried day is still wound tight
along my spine.
I am checking the time,
thinking about the sixth grade chorus
and the eighth grade strings
still waiting to play,
thinking about the list of To-Do
I have not yet done,
when, from the stage,
or the air, or the whisper
of another mother passing near,
comes the sense
of being

All at once I see
how the small boy beating the drums
is wagging his red head, beaming. 
How the boy on trombone wears neon
green socks beneath his khaki slacks. 
How the girl with gold satin shoes
and sparkling pink tulle
waves as she raises her flute.
Another girl clicks her high heels like Dorothy. 
The band teacher waves his baton
and bounces with verve.
Every note is brimming
with gorgeous imperfection.
We are held, all
of us, in the light
of this

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