We are excited to announce our Poetry on the T contest winners! It was an incredibly close race! All of our finalists' poems were certainly loved. The three winning poems will appear on the Red Line this December. Thank you to everyone who submitted and voted!

"26 Muscles" by Lauren Walsh
"Station" by Nicholas Ornstein
"False Summons" by William Conelly

"White Crocuses" by Irene Willis
"Busker Outside the T" by Stephen Whitaker
"Egg Note" by Jane Yolen
"Alone on Sage Lot Pond" by J. Lorraine Brown
"On Your Birthday" by Lisken Van Pelt Dus
"On the way to Boston, 2006" and "For When Peace is Not Enough" by Isabel Meyers
"You are the Ocean" by Julia Casale
"The Moth" by Geryxsa Rosario

Poems in the General Category

Busker Outside the T
--For Mary Lou Lord

Her hands
into lovelorn birds
moving up
and down
the branch of the guitar. 

White Crocuses

All over the lawn
one morning.
She didn't know
she'd planted them
yet there they were
pushing up

with the force
of an old love. 


Egg Note

I have been thinking about
that plover in its finely-tuned hysteria,
that weave of nest, couched in the grass,
that light of the morning as translucent
as the inside of a broken conch,
that darkly speckled egg.
All of nature in a handful of shell,
not metaphor at all,
still warm to the touch. 

False Summons

Outside a woman calls my name
and though its night, and she’s a stranger, 
I start up blinking just the same.
Her voice is laced with hurt or danger.

She skirts the darkened shrubs and lawn
still calling, I deduce, her cat.
I can lie back again and yawn.
No woman wants me quite like that. 


On Your Birthday

Earth woke inverted. 
The sidling sun spurted

through fog, pounced
on greening hills, announced

that it had plans for us – 
Want to be luminous?

it asked. I did. I do. 
And so I burn for you. 

Alone on Sage Lot Pond

After all, this should be the perfect day:
the sky is blue mist
hanging over the marsh,
and morning sun scatters

scraps of light
waking pickleweed
and buttercup.
I tip my face
in the plummy warmth.
Blackbirds wear hearts
on their wings. Ducks
on the path preen
gilt-green feathers
smooth as Baltic amber.
Only one swan stirs the pond,
the curve of her neck so tempting
I could pluck it like a harp. 

Poems in the Student Category

You are the ocean.

The roughest days
Are big waves
Headed towards the shore.
Every low regression
Leads up to

A brand new wave.
You are constantly
Moving and changing
Never losing your current.
Waves carry you

Up and down;
Everywhere the air can't.
You are millions and
Millions of colors
None can simply
Just be called "blue."

The Moth
after Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Poems like moths press
against the window trying to reach the light.

Like moths, poems press against the window,
trying to find a way out.

Like moths, poems press against the window, flying up against it
Trying to find the fresh air outside.

Like moths, poems press against the window and
they press against my clothes, making holes.

Like moths, poems press against the window.
Now they’re free. 


On the Way to Boston, 2006

I hereby pledge not to tell
how many trains I’ve never taken.
I’ll never mention the promise of
a cool breeze, hoping the engine will dawdle.
I’ll never mention the hymn of steel
on rusted tracks, the thrill of rumbling, fear of flight.
I’ll never mention the impatient children
who make origami out of timetables,
fold them into frogs and boxes.
I’ll never mention the old ladies with ‘kerchiefs
in their hair. Wire grocery baskets that I never offer to push.
I’ll never mention the dance of dust on station
through tepid mid-August air.
Nor the way you looked melancholy
watching my face blur into wind.
Or maybe that was just a smudge on the window.

Whatever, I’m gone now. 

For When Peace Is Not Enough

See the birds with their unpredictable flight patterns,
who think they own the whole “flying game.”

And drooping trees weary of sunlight that
punctures the underbellies of their leaves.

And woodpeckers assaulting their thick-skinned lovers,
as if they had a choice of how not to be.

And indecisive clouds still not sure
whether they want to be dragons or submarines.

And sticks yearning to be re-broken,
already dead and fallen from Eden’s grasp.

Two beetles fall together from a branch
and make love,
knowing this is the only moment
the world has ever noticed. 


26 Muscles

640 muscles make up you
only 26 make your smile
smile once
and mirror neurons will give you one back
and again you smile receiving another from someone new
again and again you follow this loop
and again and again you brighten someone’s day
the man standing next to you fights a disease
smile at him
create joy
and when he smiles back
you’ll thank yourself for sending it his way


The old woman behind me
Grasps the child’s hand while he
Gazes at the man and his guitar
Strumming his soul into the
Singing strings.

The businessman beside me
Jogs towards the train as the car
Pulls out of the station, head lights
Beaming like his eyes—and he is
Sighing softly.

The train station all around me
Hums with weary people; their minds
Stuck in states of wonderings and they're
Waiting for their ride to back to their
Shimm’ring somewheres.