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The John Edward Johnson Prize:

Joan Schuman; “Rosary”

Honorable Mentions:

Harold Oberman, Debra Conner


In memory of my husband Dr. Stanley Schuman

The days pass-

rosary beads

slipping through my fingers

one by one by one.

Outside my window,

seasons too slip by

in steady sequence,

one full cycle

and most of another.

I am nearly two years older

than when you left.

Death claimed you

you didn’t want to go.

Sitting in silence

I feel the smooth oval

of each small coffee-colored bead.

Even now,

I still cannot yet complete

the cycle of

the sorrowful mysteries.

Judge’s Comment:

Most compelling is the simplicity of the imagery and movement from beads to days to beans as the most ordinary things that carry the deepest grief.

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