And the Winner Is…

Joan Peronto


Joan is a resident of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where she worked as a reference librarian for 34 years. Her poetry has appeared in Crossing Paths, an anthology of Western New England poets, The Rockford Review, The Berkshire Review and Hummingbird. Her children’s poems have appeared in Spider and Ladybug.
Joan grew up in central Illinois. She and her husband graduated from the University of Wisconsin and made their home in Massachusetts, where they raised seven children.


We are not sure whether Joan Peronto even knows about this, as her son entered her poem in the contest, but she will soon, when an enormous basket (of which we’ll share pictures next week,) arrives at  her doorstep in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.


Thank you, every single one of you, for sharing your poetry with us. We were honored and grateful for the occasion.

Now, without further ado, here is the winner of Portrait of a Bookstore’s Poetry Contest, 2010:

Widow’s Walk
by Joan Peronto
The street’s sedate
and oddly calm,
every other house
a woman’s house.
The widow in the Cape
left her plastic Santa out.
It’s March. He’s fallen
on his face, beside the sleigh.
In the 50’s this street
could fill a school bus.
Children poured
up the hill in rivers,
dropped their books,
climbed the willows,
roamed the woods.
Then the piper came.
The women fade
like photographs,
brittle as last year’s
oak leaves.
They dance alone
inside their houses
until the music ends
Congratulations, Joan!

Your poem touched and quieted us. Its sense of place and tone, its gentleness, its wisdom, the aching heart of it– thank you.


Filed under Poetry Contest

2 responses to “And the Winner Is…

  1. Lilly

    Joan, Thank you so much for this poem… It is so clear and right, especially the part about the plastic Santa. I remember the year after my father died, my Mother kept the Christmas staircase ribbons and lights up for months, not so much because they looked cheerful, but because she were too exhausted to take them down and keeping up appearances didn’t matter anymore. /// I also remember busy neighborhood streets during the 50’s filled with carpooling Moms and schoolbuses. I read somewhere that the fields that were razed to build Levittown were once broccoli fields, and sometimes during the winter a broccoli head or two would pop up randomly on someone’s front lawn. /// Thanks to your son for sending this!!

    • Joan Peronto

      Thanks for your comments.
      The poem sounds more somber than I feel,
      and I receive so much pleasure from poetry-
      I think there’s a poem in your lonely head of brocolli
      popping up in Levittown..
      Sincerely, Joan

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