Imagine Your Story Writing Contest Winner

Virginia Brackett
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jun 4, 2020

Johnson County Library is pleased to announce that Virginia Brackett has won our poetry contest on the theme of Imagine Your Story with "Six".

Virginia Brackett’s 16 books have been cited by the New York Public Library; the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association; Tristate Books of Note; the American Library Association, Amelia Bloomer Project; and Booklist (Editor’s Choice, Reference Sources, 2008). She has published many articles, stories, and blog entries for readers of all ages and her short story “Mrs. Cross” won in the fall 2018 Johnson County Library creative writing competition Open Category: Women’s Voices competition. Brackett’s memoir focusing on her father’s death in the Korean Conflict and its effect on her family, In the Company of Patriots (Sunbury Press), was published in 2019, and she contributed the essay “Effects on Higher Education” to the anthology After the Pandemic: Visions of Life Post Covid-19 (Sunbury Press 2020). (


I ramped off I-70 near Butler, impatient, wheeling

it past a woman walking in the July heat.

Her auburn wig askew, its curls sprung, fluttering loose like tentacles testing the air;

no – more like wings – so tiny, stunted,

doomed in their busy attempt

to lift her from the scorched pavement and into the waves rising around her.

As I passed, the tires scattered gravel -my vehicle a fiery assault,

spewing noxious gasses, as if from the sun’s surface,

burnt petroleum clogging the air.

And in my rearview,

her eyes closed against particulates,

her cigarette an excess finger,

I watched her raise her hand,


and testify to her existence

in blind salute.


Reviewed by Helen H.
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