Feet on Fire / Stained Glass Leaves / This Song

2013 Barrett Winner

1st Place Elizabeth Roberts

Feet on Fire

“To the secret fort!” Nikki said
And we ran out from the shelter
Of the weeping willow.
Our feet hit the ground,
Hot and burning
But we were wild and
Through trees and bushes
There was a clearing small enough
For two 6 year olds and a table,
Where we planned our adventures.
We lived off ripened strawberries
Her grandpa grew and we learned to fly
Off swings, shoes first,
To the ground.
Every day ended
We found a caterpillar
Called him our baby
But someone released him and
In the way only a child knows,
That meant the end of something.
Weeks went by.
One day a storm shot lightning into the willow tree
And it fell.
I can’t find any caterpillars
Or strawberries that the birds haven’t plucked.
I don’t fit into bushes anymore.
Both of us found new adventures,
New friends, and boys we would kiss.
Some days I think of sharing them with her.
But if we shared our stories
We wouldn’t be those same girls,
Fast as the wind, fire on our feet.
Our adventures would lose their glow.
So I keep those girls in a box
Tucked in to a bed of willow leaves
With strawberries for us to survive.

Stained Glass Leaves

The world was constantly on fire. The trees burning with hot leaves that everybody sighed at. The evenings weren’t quite cool yet, so after sunset and after her house and neighbors and the entire world went to sleep, she wandered out the door. Down the road in the darkness her feet carried her underneath the canopy of trees, her eyes, green like the like the summer at its end, took it in. There was no sun to illuminate the leaves, but she didn’t mind. For the streetlights’ yellowed gaze hit the leaves which were thinning with age, and shone through them. Some people go to church to see stained glass, the stained glass created meticulously and expensiviely, but here with no one looking, nature created stained glass for free and in one simple season.

Leaves Falling

The leaves fall. They turn in loops and swirls, sighing as they hit the ground, singing as they float on the breeze.


His eyes were bright blue. Some would call them sky-like but somehow, to her, they brought a memory of frost, cold and sparkling.

Smoke Breaths

It’s a slow drug against red lips
warm, longing.
On its exhale she can see it:
The desire
The future of it in her hand
against her lips
In her lungs
His kiss swirls on the night air

Tree Prisms

She walks, again. In day light this time. Somehow her steps have doubled. A train sounds, miles away. The chill of the air grazes the skin of her hand but her palm, locked to another palm, is warm. Her cheeks pinken. The sun shines brightly in the sky; in her eyes. Forest green stares into Blue frost. The sun hits the icicles and glares.

There it was again. The tell-tale buds on the end of branches. She knew spring would come, as each season does. Around her, shedding occurred. Coats fell from sweating shoulders, gloves slipped from hands. Fingers twined and untwined, hers included. In parks and on streets loves began and ended,
As years do,
As life does.

This Song

Possess me.
Write me into the
Every sway of your body,
Every screaming pull of steel.
Leave me, longing,
For the highest notes you give
And the lowest bass of your heart.
Pounding, a pulse
The beat of us
Catapulting, falling
Through the dizziest haze
That our kisses could bring.
The building of us
Rings in our ears and
Calloused fingers
Pulling never near