2015-16 Sidewalk Poetry Winners Announced!



Congratulations to this year’s 8 winners and 5 honorable mentions! The panelists were: Heid Erdrich, J. Otis Powell!, Paige Riehl, Saymoukda Vongsay, and Marcus Young.

We thank everyone who submitted. Thank you for supporting Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, a work of art that turns our fair city into a book of poetry!


RE: Yes, You

You are the manifestation
of some ancestral prayer
hope that eased them from one burden
through the next
now their prayers still cover you –


And don’t forget.

by Tio Aiken

+ + +

Street where

I blessed the frost on this city,
thinking it’s all mine, grit
and light are mine, the people
and their hats are mine,
the coneflower stalks, chipping shutters,
cake crumbling in their mouths
mine. I once thought nothing
could move me to give it back.

by Brianna Flavin

+ + +

Dear heart,
Let go
It’s too heavy
It was never yours to carry

by Lidiya Girma

+ + +


when my footing feels unsteady unsure
I remember that you stepped across an ocean
without knowing how to swim

by Denise Huynh

+ + +

It couldn’t be measured.
Or lifted.
Or moved.
Small, but so heavy.

Then we measured.
The weight of it all.

by Laura Linn

+ + +

Our Escape

Our barefeet slapped the jungle floor
red, raw
Baby swaddled on her back
Baby at her breast
Toddlers by her side
Niam muffled our cries
Rummaged for shoots
Bamboo raft on the Mekong

by Polly Pampusch

+ + +


Washing the muffin
trays feels good.
Each compartment
Is a perfect circle.

by Lauren Raheja

+ + +

I suppose it would feel pretty good
To have a poem here,

A crew of people you’ve never met
Pressing it into cement with a stamp

But, you know,
There is always chalk

by Lydia Rosenberg


Stumbled across
your smile
in a bar down the street

My dark horizons
filled with lightning

by Melinda Breva

+ + +

yolk sac

you black shoe.
my foot is poor white.
give me a rhinoceros horn.
or bags full of Buddha bellies.
my deep roller friend lost her fight.
died under a bright blue vienna sky.
now two sprigs grow root bound.
their bones kiss empty oaths.
maternal blood still. pulses furious.
one shell cracked yolk sac.

by VL Durand

+ + +


how narrow cold the mortal soul
and how sublime,
forgotten as peace,
cease bombs falling,
we never needed them at all.
exorcise rabid scars one by one,
for warm prophecy rides unicorns bareback,
smell the fear in the air?
‘tis hyena dung in your rose beds,
my dear.

By VL Durand

+ + +

The prize of the block,
The unparalleled celebrity,
We each want to claim
The white squirrel.

by Rachel Morison

+ + +

Park Bench View

I sit in the welcome glow of the streetlamp,
And watch the city move
And breathe
And dance.
The boulevard is silent,
Waiting to be buried
In the bustle of another season.
And I am traveler,
Trying to find my way
Back to a time that is no more.

by Annie Reierson

+ + +

Happy Hour 1952

My grandma got the pants off one man who
complained his wife never ironed his jeans.
She carefully laid them out
in the middle of Lake Road,
stepped back up on the curb, and
stirred her highball with her ring finger
until the next truck
left an impression.

by Susan Jasko