Whole Life Soaps

Winner of the 2018 Haiku Soap Contest

Bill McConnell

Each year, as Wrightwood tries to solidify itself as a place where arts thrive, we sponsor our soap haiku contest. We appreciate the writers who visit our small village for the annual writer’s festival, sponsored by Rattle Magazine, and it’s apparent that the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains rubs off in their prose.

This year, we had over 500 entries in our little poetry contest. To put that in comparison, we only had 26 entries the first year we started, so it’s becoming a popular annual event. I’d like to thank poetry editor Timothy Green for including our contest in Rattle’s newsletter. So many of our participants came from across the US and the globe, with entries coming from as far away as Nigeria, Thailand, and New Zealand.

There were a lot of really good poems, and although there can be only one winner, I’d like to share the top 15 poems. Numbers 15 through 6 are honorable mentions; numbers 5 through 2 are the runners up, and number 1 is the winner. We will begin with the honorable mentions. I hope you give all of these poems your consideration before scrolling to the end.

Honorable Mentions

#15 Kim Mannix

House hunting

in a stranger’s bathroom

we kiss

#14 Susan Whitley Peters

I bought you two bars

of soap—it smelled amazing!

I used the other one.

#13 Catherine Young

Cleano! one boy, once small

sang as we marched to the tub

to scrub mud pie play.

#12 Emily Dalton

Think how the shore feels,

scrubbed clean everyday by waves

of raw emotion.

#11 Daniel Kahan

The right smell can heal

anything. Somewhere, there’s a

smell to wake the dead.

#10 Emily Davis-Fletcher

Your eyes whisper to me

across a room trembling poetry.

The flower picks the bee.

#9 Michael Stalcup

let me love you like

soap does—give myself to you

until I am gone.

#8 Joyce Ray

My skin, your skin

scrubbed into one people—

Clean living.

#7 Melissa Dearden

You left a bad taste—

I washed my mouth with soap

like a naughty child.

#6 Lisa Periale Martin

Dig, desert woman—

yucca roots for washing

that man out of your hair.

Runners up

#5 Hilma Wolitzer

That irony of

old age, knowing far more

than you can remember.

#4 Jim Daniels

Even when we had nothing,

sheep scratched themselves against

our dead car rusting in the weeds.

#3 Nadia Hutton

Lovers always smell

of sandalwood and I have

never understood why.

#2 Marc Nair

Some things cannot

be saved by soap; heavy hands,

the lost ends of love.

The 2018 Soap Haiku Winner

#1 Kyra McNally Albers

The dewdrops have a cherry scent

on the crooked tree branch

where you used to sit.


I have emailed the winner. Please check yoru spam folder in case it did not go through.

Thanks for your participation. Even if you did not win, all of you are talented writers. Thank you for sharing your words with us.

A special line of soaps featuring this poem will be available by Mid-December to early January and be on sale through June 30, 2019.