July 2023 Monthly Contest: Winner Announcement

We are excited to announce the winner of the July 2023 Chattanooga Writers’ Guild Monthly Contest is Becky Parker with the submission “Ocean Balm” and runner-up is Ray Zimmerman with the submission “Primal.”

Ocean Balm

The setting of the sun cast 
a rainbow of colors upon the waves;
coaxing a reluctant smile from her
tired face.

Waves yarned a trail to the dune,
weaved between her feet,
tethering her to the sand.

The song of the seagulls
began thrumming in the 
chambers of her heart,

streaming peace through 
the ventricles deep into
the chasm of her soul,

where the river meets the
where the owl dances with
the moon.

She flung the delicate chain 
of gold into the ocean, saying a

final goodbye to the queen
of the hills; whose spirit 
now sings among the pine trees
upon  Oakdale Mountain.

Becky Parker resides in Tennessee. She enjoys DIY projects, glamping, traveling, spending time with family, and listening to a tall tale. Her works have been published in several publications including, Spirit Fire Review, Agape Review, Sweety Cat Press, Yellow Mama, Appalachia Bare, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, the Rye Whiskey Review, the Potato Soup Journal, the Green Shoe Sanctuary, Amaranth Journal, Spire Light, Avocet, and upcoming in North Dakota Quarterly, Mildred Haun Review and Mackenzie’s Publication. In 2022, she was nominated for the Pushcart prize by Sequoyah Cherokee Journal.


Pitcher plants and sundew dine on bugs as
gulls arrive from the Great Lakes to startle me. 
Their cries awaken my joy in all flying things.

Fish shatter my reflection in the pond’s mirror.
Herons stalk them on the sun-bleached shoreline. 
I feel a kinship with herons and kingfishers. 

I stir with primal hunting urge. 
Rewilding, perhaps feral, I cast my line. 
With skill, I may eat well. 

Ray Zimmerman is a former president of the Chattanooga Writer’s Guild. He has published poems in numerous journals, including The Avocet, Number One (Volunteer State Community College), and The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Volume 6 (Texas Review Press).
His feature articles have appeared in The Chattanooga Pulse, Photo Traveler (Los Angeles), The Journal of Interpretation (Fort Collins, Colorado), Appalachian Voices (Boone, North Carolina), and The Hellbender Press (Knoxville).

The Monthly Contests rotate through a pattern of Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction throughout the year, with a new theme each month. Go to the 2023 Monthly Contest Series Info page to view the genre and theme for each month.

This contest is free to enter for members of the Chattanooga Writers’ Guild. To become a member, click HERE

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