The Writers Bureau Short Story Competition 2019
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Poetry Competition 2020 - Third Place


Roger Elkin

Roger Elkin

You bring me Bouches-du-Rhône

and my mind kaleidoscopes
into images and signs. Thinks French.
Thinks something to do with mouth.

And I remember the turn of your head,
full-faced, your cheek, your sleek-lipped
Cupid-bow pushing to pout its softened

mouth, till firming into kisses.
You proffer the bottle, its shoulder ringing
coldly in my hand, and, catching a lance

of sunlight, reddening unexpectedly,
the carmine of calves’ blood. You say
it’s your gift, but I sense it’s more

an opening move in some game
of exploring boundaries; and recall the dare
of flesh; your hair unloosed, dangling;

your teasing fingers hanging
lingering in mine. The way they angled
and played my skin. The invite of eyes,

challenging. And I understand.
It is more than gift you bring.
Is memories of last Summer:

vineyards riding down hillsides,
their clusters of grape must-blushing
under sun; the sky open like a plate,

its blue the denim blue of your jeans;
cicadas tzinging from the scrub;
those evenings of balmy heat;

our talkings long into night …
the mouthings of wine …
the kaleidoscoping desires …


Roger Elkin has won 60 First Prizes in (inter)national Poetry Competitions and several awards, including the Sylvia Plath Award for Poems about Women (1986), and the Howard Sergeant Memorial Award for Services to Poetry (1987). Sheer Poetry is his twelfth collection; his previous collections include Fixing Things (2011); Bird in the Hand (2012); Marking Time (2013); and Chance Meetings (2014). Editor of Envoi, (1991 – 2006), he is available for readings, workshops and poetry competition adjudication.

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