Words on Windows is a collaboration with the Free Verse poetry festival. Below are the submissions received. Photos of the poetic installations will be up soon!



Sustenance by Jenna Pillar

There is left no trace
On this field,
This ground is still
Good to yield.

Value of common
Worth was sought-
The grain here is
Good, as is the broth.

This earth examined,
What does it contain?
Fierce winds blow forth
As does the rain-

Governing cost
Lichen to moss
On the south side of that tree
Shows there is wealth here- still to see.

Soil is mixture-
Dirt to some
Untrained one
No use for the sun.

Water is brought
After the

No one propagates
Their seeds here-
But yes, it still
Adheres to law

This land has its own Fixtures
Which only a wise one knows
Nurtured by the slight
Un-hindering flow.

You may be surprised
The things
That are naturally


Untitled by Asiah Mae

Today was the first morning I’ve woken up and didn’t feel bad about being broken.
I’ve rearranged my shards so many times that I’ve started to look like a mosaic
And you can’t help but be in awe when the light shines through.


Me and The World by Asiah Mae

when I’m really quiet
& I’ve shut out the world around me
I can still hear the sounds of the universe
& I realize there is a forest inside of me
and that I am nothing but earth and water
Molded over a soul.”


Untitled by Asiah Mae

I woke up Sunday morning with a song on my heart. Are you happy to see you didn’t break me? Aren’t you happy I can breathe now, too?


Warning by Ashia Mae

“Not every well is meant to quench your thirst
Yet, if after being warned of the pollutants
You still choose to drink
You cannot blame the messenger
For the poison in your veins”


Community of Believers by Jason Chambers

Leave behind your lists
of the forbidden,
your money,
your past, your shoes,
your names for things,
and everything you thought you were
supposed to be.
Duck the low branches,
step lightly over the roots,
laugh when the thorns tear gently
at your skin, until you see
the light kaleidoscoped by
the leaves, and
push softly through them and
find me there in the clearing,
listening to the owl
without any hope, or need,
of understanding whatsoever.


Sweet Havoc by Derek Berry

there remain so many light bulbs still in your head
let them burst
do not fear anything illuminated
even if the light
threatens to flicker
even if in the aftermath of ignition
we might be thrown

kiss the darkness
use tongue
unlock the coffin
dance the dust off your bones
step with no purpose
but to remind your feet of their funky groove
this is loving yourself
eloping with yourself
allowing yourself to collapse into mercy
to gasp every breath
to let oxygen sucker punch your palette
do you not mourn each moment wasted not kissing the mouth of someone you love?


Potluck by Derek Berry

Bring an appetite.
Bring half-memories.
Bring your mother’s hand-scrawled recipe book.
Bring crooked antlers. Bring piano wire.
Bring me a city seen from above.
Bring the scent of a burning crucible.
Bring fresh tomatoes.
Bring a blessing startled from a mouth full of good food.



Untitled by Dylan Duckworth

Breathe deeply 
And release 
Enough with the Strife 
Enjoy your Life 
Upon the Love of others, you will Rise 
Open your heart and let go of lies 
Surround yourself with others who do the same 
Don’t waste time placing blame 
The Truth is yours to find and Face 
Don’t feel shame or disgrace 
Or anything else they want you to 
Just be you 
Learn how to make your love increase 
Give Your Mother Peace-



Feeding the Soul by Gina Mocha

It’s not every day that I see myself as being great.
It’s not every day that I see myself as being better than blessed.
But, I have taught myself to see myself better because at least I’m trying to be my best.
Nourishment of the soul, feeds the inner being of myself.
Even when life leaves my body in pure agony from all of life’s hurts and pains.
I know that I am more than a conqueror because when I think that I’m at my wits end;
triumph rains down on my weary soul and gives me hope that all is not over.
I have been down roads that had appeared desolate and had no winds; but yet I found
I have had a smile that was removed from my face and it no longer had an indentation or an
inclination that a smile used to cover my thoughts of ever being hopeless, but somehow I has
been replenished.
Now that the soil from the ground have strengthen me with encouraging ingredients and
has comforted me with directions that leads me to a list of different enticing platters; my spirit
has been flourished.
Feed my heart so that I can begin to pour love into your soul, so when the world tries to drain
your energy; you will be covered and your life shall never unfold. That’s how we feed the soul.



Fill by Courtney Bates

It strikes a chord
Like lightning dances after thunder’s roar
Upon this throne my lungs
The air dripping in crescendos

Social order disordered
The wild and meek both starving for melody
Side orders of food and drink
My body writhing to the infectious beat

A fermata hangs from each threshold
Conducting friends to plaster on smiles
An upbeat draws the hungry to
Measure by measure, notes float across floorboards

Dissonance crumbles to pianissimo
Resolution is found in liquid and laughter
Forte progresses to fortissimo as applause
A steady pulse through wooden bar tops
All those malnourished
Come here to be kings and queens
Let the music
Your soul



Food 4 Da Soul by Queen Christine Washington

CUM DOWN YA! So, you can also see
Why people travel for miles and miles
To visit this charming little city by the sea.

Is it because of the crabs we crack, that’s caught out our local creeks?
Or is it for the fish, lobster, clams, oysters, shrimp and all other salt water delicacies, that we all love to eat?

Or is the southern hospitality, inviting you to have a seat?
Or maybe, it just might be the distinctive native tongue of people; when you hear the community of the Gullah/Geechee speak!

Whatever it is that attracts you to these parts…
Whether it’s your love for the people, the music, the culture, history or the art.
If you were smart, you’d load up your plate
And stuff not only your face; but also you heart.

So, when you CUM DOWN YA, then you’ll know…
You didn’t just travel to this charming little city by to the sea,
To dine on some southern soul food… But to get some food 4 your soul!
Eat Up



Unveiled by Hafeezah Yates

I can see beyond the surface. I can see your discomfort. I can see your growth. I can see your life being split into two.
A greater version of me and a newer version of you. Revealing the complicated truth, what you had to endure to get through.
How the invisible map led me to you. A path many choose not to follow. A path with potential to change tomorrow.
I can see truth among the landscape of your sorrows.
Navigating the peeks and valleys I embrace your words of strife. I see you in bloom. I see you as pure delight.


Untitled by Jan Warner



Market in Summertime by Gabrielle Villacres

Sweetgrass spills into the street
midday, summer, light falling over soft
handles, green weaved over burnt yellow
rays running in between the grooves
in the cobblestone.

At supper, the basket crescendos
to the table, among pinot,
whipped butter, filet mignon, bearing
bread and biscuits and grissini.

Savagely we reap
the doughy sweetness,
teeth sinking into floury flesh,

grass left dormant
and browning, a husk:
arid, devoured.



Mind, Body and Soul by April Duckworth

I nourish my body
I nourish my soul
I nourish my mind
To make all whole

Plants are my life
Without them, what strife
Plant-based and strong
No one will I wrong

Nourish your soul
Help others to fill their bowl
Be kind to all
For no one, no one is small



Mother by Sarah-Katherine Garcia

She is the blanket
the bed
the house
Our very foundation

She feeds and is fed
Our path and our heart

She is us
We are always water
May we ever soften
and serve



Nourishment by Haley Shae Olds

Because nothing is more precious
than what you give yourself. Because
your bones can ache more than your heart.
Because to receive what you need,
you must first face your palms skyward.
Because when it comes to redemption,
you must find what sustains you. What will you give
yourself when you are all you have?


Our Balanced Meal by Alex Binaco

My dad can’t eat salty foods anymore –
He has high blood pressure.
To create balance in the universe
I will gladly pick up his portion…
With ramen.
And I’m not eating red meat at this time,
So you are more than welcome to
Have my share!
You just can’t put salt on it, though.


Here Is Where We Eat The Sun by Marjory Wentworth

It is not about Sweat Tea and magnolias,
although a little sugar never hurt anyone-
and there is nothing better than shrimp and grits
for breakfast, a supper of Hopping John,
collards, butter beans and corn bread.

It’s more the ease and abundance that delights—
the way the earth, gives back each day
in tangles of wild asparagus or rice,
blackberries growing along the edges of a backyard.

And gardens where marbleized green globes
of watermelon spin against the dark earth,
beside tomatoes tied to sticks and herbs
flourishing in the corner: sage, oregano
and thyme; mint filling the morning air.

It’s the wonder of squash vines, filling with sun-
light exploding in rows of yellow blossoms,
the way fingers of lime green cucumbers
poke through curled leaves like offerings.

It’s long summer evenings on the back porch,
boiled peanut shells tossed in a bowl,
picking at blue crabs dragged on a string
from the Atlantic that morning…

Maybe it’s the way peaches pull their color
from the sky bursting over the sea
or how oysters, still covered in pluff mud,
sitting in the world of their shells,
taste exactly like the beginning of time.


Two Become One by Dee Shanti

Take me into your body, that your cells may fuel my cells for power.
Take me into your mind, that your thoughts may expand my concepts of Love.
Take me into your heart, that your energy may merge with mine- creating new stars that BURST with the light of a thousand suns.
Take me into your soul, for it is there where we become one, forever nourishing each other on the wave of each breath.



Revival by April Bandy-Taylor

As we break bread together
we are replenished.
Filled up with what
serves a greater purpose.
Our hunger for good overpowers
the darkness that shadows the Earth.
In body and spirit,
we are renewed and restored.
Each meal is a revival,
seasoned with hope for the future
and wisdom of generations past.


The table by April Bandy-Taylor

At our table…
all are welcomed
At our table…
stories are told
At our table…
time is cherished.
At our table…
memories are made.
At our table…
friends are family


Tortilla by Vera Gomez

I forget the taste of handmade tortillas.
How my floured fingers separated the lard
as you held my hand to teach me to knead.

I still see the flour form clouds and leave
white kisses on your fingers as the metal pipe,
your rolling pin, pounded the kitchen counter.

You dropped the dough; flatten it to a sliver,
took each circle to the grill and waited
for their paleness to cook and brown.

I savored mantequilla then, melted down
the spine of white flour tacos, rolled tight,
grabbed firm within my hungry hands.

The silky salt bathed my fingers.
The heat of the grill bit my tongue.


Cafeteria Food by Vera Gomez

The daily nickel marked me.
I’d take it from my pinned coin purse
to pay for the pint of Quality Check milk.
I carried a brown bag, tattered from use
and freckled by oil spot stains.
They had full trays and lunch cards.
My solitary bag stood tall – it’s mouth open.
Their flesh-toned trays lined tabletops.

My spicy tacos filled the air.
Unwrapping the reused Reynolds Wrap,
I’d look down and wish I were white.
Wish I had bologna on Wonder bread.
Wish I could forsake the taste of chorizo –
but I was hungry. I’d hear the kids whisper,
Spic. I’d think pinche gringos, like
Papi when he was mad at the world.

The room’s ordinary walls resembled
the English my tongue would learn to flap.
Back then I longed for rolled Rs and spoken
syllables accented and topped by tildes.
But in the school cafeteria only wows and
way cools echoed. My chorizo tacos and chocolate
milk learned to speak for themselves.


Cutting Mangos by Vera Gomez

“Ase mija, despaseo con la navaja,”
Papi said as he’d take the first mango
to quickly peel its skin. By the fifth,
the mango cut open in my hands
and peels scattered at our feet, all up
on each other like my sisters before
they left the house, Mom yelled: “Ay!”

We’d take her the sticky fruit to make
mango shakes with her hand-turned blender,
the same one she used to whip potatoes
or blend her mole. They worked together.
He letting the mango slices fall into
her mixing bowl. He pouring the milk
then adding in the cinnamon. But she,
she beat the mixture blending it smooth
until it frothed then poured the liquescent mangos
into glasses that sweat to quench our thirst.

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