The poems below were chosen as “Best Poems” and excerpted from the two most recent issues of the Aurorean. “Best Poem” winners receive $30.

Waiting for George

You have breakfast with the same woman
nearly every day, she’s read the headlines
aloud from Reagan to Trump. Your wedding
gift coffee cups have survived the switch
from heavy cream to skim milk. One morning
she greets you with news that your brother
George has called. You look into her eyes
waiting for the punch line—after all,
George is dead for a decade—but no glint
appears and you realize something strange
is happening. You make an appointment
with a doctor, telling her it’s time
she had her hearing checked. He finds nothing
wrong, nothing. You start to watch her every
move—how she measures the beans, scours
the copper until it shines like autumn sun.
She seems the same as ever, except you notice
now she’s watching you, too. You wait for a sign.
Then one day you come home, hear her talking
to your brother George. He wants to know
how you’re doing, she says. How am I doing?
you wonder, but before you can ask, her eyes
widen, hands part, she whispers Hold me, please.

By Peter Neil Carroll, from Fall/Winter 2019–2020


* * *

If I Say

If I say
I have written a sonnet to you
do not
get caught up in linguistic details
of what a sonnet should be or not
think more of essence
and the sweetness of ripe peaches
and how the glow of a sunset
can sweep over you.

By Dennis Herrell, from Spring/Summer 2019