In this segment, your Scribes highlight a work of art or literature that has been published in a past issue of Scribendi. This piece has been selected by Jesse Montoya, from the Scribendi 2013 edition. Commentary will follow after the poem.

Garden City

Breeann Silbernagel | Montana State University, Billings | Poem
Editors’ Choice Award Winner

Remember that one time
we sat on your grass,
brown with neglect,
the squirrels and streetlamps
like a real bluegrass band.
damn, we lived that day.
those green folding chairs
you wrestled from the garage
rust-freckled, were too few.
so we settled in your orphaned lawn
smashing autumn’s leftovers,
our holographic cups
sloshing over
with that hoppy IPA.
my camera sat ignored.
the neighbor girls tanned
their pasty toothpick legs
stretched out on dandelion towels
appliquéd with dainty four-leaf clovers.
we even had a stand-up bass
hurrying, plucking to the next organic jam
before the breeze threatened winter.
I tapped on your guitar
the percussion rhythm-keeper,
and kissed the Beat
through that nothing-filled


Scribe’s Take: Jesse Montoya

My short, quick summary is that I love this piece. It won the Editor’s Choice award in 2013 for a reason. First, you must, absolutely must, read this poem aloud. Once you done that, read it aloud again. Now again. This poem is meant to be read aloud. Through oration, and practice, you can experience the casual nostalgia that this poem evokes. Elements like alliteration, soft consonant sounds, hyphenated words and almost-rhymes make the piece flow. Those technical elements work together, orchestrated by our poet, to create an image, an experience. For me, the poem served as a time machine back to the lazy days of a youthful summer, days long swallowed by the obligations that come with age. And that’s exactly a function of a poem—to share an experience. But our poet reminds us with those imperfect rhymes that the experience is gone, imperfectly retrieved by memory. She calls us to share a moment—a moment that once was, but now is not.

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