January 2023 Monthly Contest: Winner Announcement

We are excited to announce the winner of the January 2023 Chattanooga Writers’ Guild Monthly Contest is KB Ballentine with the submission “Season of Salt” and runner up is George Arellano with the submission “Appalachian Lullably.”

Season of Salt

After the burn of summer
was the letting go,
sky unchained,
learning a different blue.
Fields pocked and clumped
spilled scorched breath 
into the hollers,
around the hulk 
of the mountains, far
into its crannies and clefts.
No tenderness left,
no autumn abundant 
with the melody of leaves.
No creeks kissing,
tumbling grassy banks.
No. Lifting our eyes
to face the dark, we pause.
Only the ruins remain.

KB Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, launched in 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in North Dakota Quarterly, Atlanta Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, and others, her work also appears in anthologies including I Heard a Cardinal Sing (2022), The Strategic Poet (2021), Pandemic Evolution (2021), and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at http://www.kbballentine.com.

“Appalachian Lullaby” 

From red clay pillow,      
‘neath the willow,
now she cannot see
the dragonflies 
and southern skies
that used to set her free.
Momma sleeps 
where Papaw weeps
in the woods of Tennessee,
and I’d like to know      
that when I go            
that’s where they’ll bury me.

George de Arellano writes nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books. He lives in Wildwood, Georgia with his son Julian.

silhouette of mountains


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