Third Place in the Caldwell Nixon Jr. Award (Judge Shaindel Beers)
Sponsored by the family of Sallie Nixon

Poems written by adults for children 2 to 12 years of age

At the end of the thick book
I find bad rabbit General Woundwart’s
blackened-blue bloodshot eyes
and foaming muzzle and bloody paws.
The jacket cover is the hero rabbit Bigwig
caught in a snare, tongue dangling,
more blood dribbling down his fur.
I feel a direct kinship—
Dad calls me “rodent” when I am good.

Before the rabbits get blessed with fast legs
their god tells them:

All the world will be your enemy,
Prince with a Thousand Enemies,
and whenever they catch you they
will kill you. But first they must catch you.

I never tell my parents how I shove
the spine turned upside down
in my book case, on the bottom shelf,
so I can’t see it from my twin bed.

Perhaps I want to out-trick death.
Perhaps I want to understand it.