El Cerrito poet’s winning entry at the San Mateo County Fair

“In the Cupboard,” a poem that Evie Groch of El Cerrito wrote and entered in the San Mateo County Fair poetry contest, swept its division, winning first place and best of show.

    In the Cupboard

On the table among the New Gamboge,

Winsor Lemon, and Permanent Rose

lie brushes pointed and rounded

near water cups of Prussian Blue

and Jasper Green.

We paint with broad strokes

and detailed attention

the broccoli heads and tangelos

slinking across the models’ table.

We remember to color wash

and define by negative space,

we focus on the table

and suffer no distractions

Until the teacher opens the cupboard

to reach the empty yogurt containers

and I espy a pair of red and white stilettos –

stilettos with 4-inch heels, which rest perpendicularly

on the shelf and whisper for someone to set them free,

take them out and dance hard.

I cannot shift my eyes.

Broccoli can wait.

Who left the shoes?

In a cupboard of discards which

patiently wait their turn to prance and spin,

they plead for mercy and move me like no

tangelo can.

— Evie Groch

Chris Treadway