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  • The Search

    The Search

    A crumpled piece of paper
    with the phone number
    of a man she was last with,
    my stomach roils as I call—
    his voice, too kind, too agreeable
    I had been warned not to trust.
    He suggests I search North Beach
    where she likes to go. Walking the
    gritty seashore, the smell of dead fish
    fills my nostrils. There searching faces--
    I listen for her voice. Will I recognize her?
    Will she know me? Soggy sand suctions,
    pulls me down—with crowds
    everywhere but no sister, I sink further.
    Downtown shelter lined with homeless
    patrons sharing cigarette butts, stories,
    sitting, lying on the ground,
    their truculent stares let me know I
    do not belong here.
    Inside a volunteer woman sits
    behind bullet proof glass.
    Fear pierces with a sharp blade
    but numbing pressure wraps around me.
    Inside I leave a note for my little sister
    along with a phone card
    with the woman behind the glass.
    One last time with fading expectation
    I drive slowly up and then back down
    the streets of Corpus Christi--
    the bus terminal full of addicts, alcoholics,
    and hurting souls, the smell of hopelessness,
    someone else’s mother, daughter, sister

    but no sign of my sibling.
    I leave, vowing to return.

    By Marsha K. Ault
    Nacogdoches, Texas

  • #2
    This was my first free verse poem. I wrote it on the way home from searching for my younger sister. Searching for understanding WHY she prefers to live on the streets instead of coming home with us. Sometimes our best poetry comes from that searching.

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    • #3
      Very nice, Marsha, it seems free verse was what the judges most preferred too. Congratulations on your unusual piece on understanding and the honorable mention.

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      • #4
        Very powerful and well done. Made me feel for you and your sister. Congratulations on the honorable mention. You should be very proud of yourself.

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