fiction, poetry & more

Honorable Mention
$25 Award


by Richard G. Hagen 

A five inch blade, now slightly bent, not sharp,

with a chipped, simulated scrimshaw handle

etched with scenes of sailing ships, the sea,

a lighthouse on the shore,

has resided on my desk for years,

a souvenir of past New England times

when I, like it, a fake, pretended to belong,

to be familiar with the waves and salt and spray,

pretending not to miss the flat Midwest,

its oceans of prairie grass and corn.

It never leaves the desk; serves only to skewer

junk mail and slice the life from bills,

my weapon against the force of time

that saddens me when I concede I’ll no more

see the sea, and not again feel half so free.


Richard G. Hagen lives just outside Minneapolis, in Bloomington, MN. Writing and studying poetry is his escape from the daily intensities of the business world, the vagaries of Minnesota weather, and the frustrations of his golf game. His work has appeared in four Talking Stick anthologies, Steam Ticket, TwoReview, at, and has three times been featured in performances produced by the Bloomington Center for the Arts.