Cycles Writing Contest Winner

bald man with glasses in long sleeved shirt looking pensive

Steve Brisendine

Steve Brisendine
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
May 4, 2023

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Steve Brisendine has won our writing contest on the theme of Cycles with his piece "Cyclone/cyclic."

Steve Brisendine is a writer, poet, occasional artist and recovering journalist living and working in Mission, Kansas. His most recent collections are Salt Holds No Secret But This (Spartan Press, 2022) and To Dance with Cassiopeia and Die (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). His work has also appeared in journals and anthologies including Modern Haiku, Flint Hills Review, Aji and Connecticut River Review. He holds no degrees, several longstanding grudges and more than a few strong opinions.


Air is a funny thing; each molecule
in the gust that tears down a house
has passed through every lung that
          ever drew even one breath.

An ancestral death rattle becomes
a grandchild’s first intake and wail;
we share in all gasps, all hushed
vows, all dust devils and zephyrs
          and favorable tailwinds.

Breathe in
          Blessed are the peacemakers ...
raise a song of
          I only want to be with you;

scream out the wordless grief of
mothers from Bethlehem to Belsen,
Saigon to Soweto to Sandy Hook.

Repeat as needful, which is to say every
few seconds until whatever end you reach.


Reviewed by Helen H.
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