Build a Better World Writing Contest Winner

Annie Newcomer
Geneann Newcomer
Friday, Oct 6, 2017

The Readers Advisory committee is pleased to announce that Annie Newcomer has won our Build a Better World writing contest in the open category for her poem Caregivers. We find the poem an interesting and new take on our theme that works to capture a very specific type of "Building a Better World." The imagery is powerful and the author captures how our bodies can sometimes be forces of nature that suck us in and spit us out. And that some are able to witness this process of unknowing and struggle in others and stick around, trying to find what good they can in the uncertain mess.

These past few years I have seen dear friends lose family to Alzheimer's. Hospice and caregivers helped these families so much. I see them as building a better world. Annie Newcomer lives in Prairie Village with her husband David. She writes as a way to explore the world and herself.


I once had a mother who loved me before
she fell into the ocean of lost words
and speech. We journey to play on the beach
​where I lose sight of her on the horizon.

Grey clouds march across the sky. We are not
​certain of the monsters they push in. Finding
​ourselves unprepared, we run for shelter, seems
​the smart thing to do before being plummeted
​by memories. We leave a drowning blue bird

on a blue wave. It is hard to look into “old”
eyes, painful to see their disturbing questions
​staring back. Best to pretend we don’t know
​the answers. Instead we keep busy counting
​our blessings, and our lists of accomplishments.

We travel alongside the Tin Man collect our heart
​medal from the Wizard so we can get out
​of this place. There is one, though, who stays
​behind, who does the heavy lifting, who brings
​mother’s hand to her lips, understanding

the value of touch. When it rains it pours
​heartbreaks and the caregiver is there to mend them
​in ways our loving “too much” causes us “too much” pain.
So she goes back, back to find what she

sees as life but we see as dying.
I thank God for the angels among us
​who understand the “long good-bye”,
who see sandcastles in the sky
​where others see storms.

Written by Helen H.

Fun fact: I adore furry faces.