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Dream Quest One Second Poetry Prize
Winner - SUMMER 2015
of East Brunswick, New Jersey - USA



My son smelling of sand and sweat

makes lemonade in the evening.

He bristles as he reaches into the refrigerator

for four yellow bumpy lemons.

Standing back to the window

with just the cap of a descending sun

he seems the shadow

of a boy.

His skin caramelized cafe au lait by thirty summer days.

He places the round lemons on a smooth white table and

sharpened blade in hand

slices cleanly each one.

Squinting sternly he picks up each half

and squeezes as

the muscle in his slender arm

lifts under the foil of skin

a brief and tender promise.

Then gently he pours

a pool of cool water and a rush of sugar

into the pitcher but

asks me to pick out the pits

for autumn planting.

Done I hand him the pitcher

as he deftly swirls the lemon sugar water

with a large silver spoon that

tinkles against bubbled glass.

“Good!” he proclaims

after one impatient sip and

does not hear

the raindrops which have begun already

to beat time’s steady march

against the half-opened window.



About the poet: Shirley Russak Wachtel is a college English professor living in New Jersey. She holds a Doctor of Letters Degree from Drew University. She is the author of a book of poetry, In the Mellow Light, several books for children, and a series, Spotlight on Reading, a college-level text. Her personal essays have been published in The New York Times OpEd section. Her short stories and poems have appeared in Middlesex, Haiku Journal, Emerge, Leaves of Ink, Whisper, and other literary journals. Her acclaimed memoir, My Mother's Shoes, follows her mother's journey during the Holocaust and as a new citizen in America. Wachtel's latest book, The Music Makers, is the story of five individuals living in upstate New York who are drawn together by a mysterious young boy.