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JUDGE'S PICK, RICK ARDINGER, $25
Maurice Hamlin, Nampa
"One Day at the Volcano"
A loveable 1952 Ford with its working vacuum tube radio once traveled a volcano. I helped by driving. We once discovered a hidden place nested in sugar cane where wisdom and produce sat under a galvanized, corrugated, open raftered roof. It was just three or four million years ago that where we parked arose from beneath a glistening ocean. Now this day at the volcano we joined in wonder. From the rafters above floated yellowed paper banners with the visions of philosophers and seekers there upon reflected. I glimpsed the world of hidden things, bought wilted vegetables and we drove away.
JUDGE'S PICK, CORT CONLEY, $25
Doug Kizer, Boise
He was cold and selfish when they made love. Each day she could feel him becoming more distant and blamed herself. She followed him when he went out and read his email when he wasn't looking. She didn't expect to find anything. She knew there was no other woman just as she knew it was all her fault. When he quit speaking to her altogether, she sat silently each night pretending nothing was wrong.
And then one day he was gone.
The next night she danced with the men in the bars. She could smell their need, feel their beating hearts.
JUDGE'S PICK, LAURA DELANEY, $25
Melanie Mendenhall, Boise
"Baby I'm Yours"
I never believed in reincarnation back when I promised you everything. I'm sure I would have thought better of the beach and barefoot vows. You, in a tie, for once.
Now we're licking our feathers seaside, watching the younger birds strut themselves across this sandy stage while our day unrolls itself like every other day. Wherever I go, there you are. Some would find it comforting. Same face, same thoughts for all eternity.
It's not that I don't love you anymore. I do, okay. Even that corny little song you coo before you sleep. But a bird's gotta spread her wings.
JUDGE'S PICK, ALAN HEATHCOCK, $25
Sheila Robertson, Boise
"The High Cost of Dishwashers"
Pop was complainin' I don't see good 'nough nowadays to get the dishes clean. So the kids bought me a secondhand dishwasher.
Come night, Pop saw something scuttlin' around. They was cockroaches from outta that dishwasher. I called the secondhand man to come get that dang thing. He ran and ran it. Said it washed them all out.
Next week Pop found roaches in my toaster, my microwaver and my bread makin' machine. Yelled how we couldn't spray poison and eat outta them. Threw them and the dishwasher out.
I wash by feel again, like I always did.
Pop's not complainin'.
JUDGE'S PICK, CLAY MORGAN, $25
Patricia Staehelin, Scarsdale, N.Y.
She asked God for a computer.
He said, "You don't need one. Just peer down through the clouds."
And there she saw it. Her whole life, on eBay.
Bobby's eggcup. The clown was still smiling hard enough to keep an adult world at bay. Her white gloves with curly fur at the wrists--plastic still protecting her memories.
One dollar and twenty-six cents for her set of ruby red anchor hocking tumblers! That wouldn't cover
And the glass luncheon set in its
Wouldn't it be nice, she thought, to have just one more tuna sandwich and tomato soup.