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Scotty Davis Watson Prize

Frances J. Pearce, “Divertissement”

Honorable Mentions:

Judith Reese,Richard Taylor, Preston Martin


What of our outdoor cat squeezing

between the wooden rails of my 1950s


playpen knowing how joyfully I would lift

it by the tail to drop it onto the lawn?


Still it pushed through those bars and

returned to me again and again. I’ve no


recollection of this, just talk I’ve heard.

Yet I picture myself contained there as


my mother always tried to contain me.

Only one house stood between ours and


the frenzied boulevard where urban buses

rumbled downtown and to schools. Nearby,


creeks wove into rivers that formed a bay. So

why did that tenacious cat covet the imperfect


fortress of my enclosure when it had a whole

city, the entire globe, available to explore?

Judge’s Comment:

The initial query, posed in the first enjambed sentence of "Divertissement," pulls the reader in completely the way interesting syntax should. The rest of the poem is held together with a gratifying balance of vivid imagery and implied tension, providing a lived experience for both reader and poet.

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