My Neighbor Said [1st Annual Ruhi Danayim Poetry Prize Honorable Mention]

by Leslie Entsminger

You need to fix
those nail pops on the windowsill
a little caulk and they might disappear.

In truth, I hadn’t noticed,
but now,
they appear to me— a row
of three nail heads,
just the slightest bit.

I run my finger over them
and appreciate the reminder
of the calloused hand that placed
each one, a history.

I think of the acorn
I planted near the stump
of the old tree
that sprouted
and grew three leaves.

When it is dead,
those nail heads
may still be on this windowsill.
And a descendant of mine
may look in the mirror
as he rises, to admire
the contour and shape
of his eyes.



About “My Neighbor Said” Judge Rick Barot said: “My Neighbor Said” has a quiet delicacy—like a little Calder mobile.  The triggering subject for the poem may be the nails that are awry on the windowsill, but its real subject is a meditation on the things that last, the things that don’t last, and the things of the future.  The poem has an admirable narrative/lyric economy.



Leslie Entsminger graduated from Purdue University in 1979 in Interdisciplinary Engineering. She worked for Mobil Oil as a geophysicist before retiring in 1986 to raise three children. While in Houston from 2000 to 2011, she worked as an artist in oil painting and printmaking. She is currently a third-year fiction student in Old Dominion University’s MFA program. Her recent work can be found in The Cincinnati Review and Shark Reef.