Fresh Air

By: Esther Blum

A mansion sits on an ancient hill
with elegant ballrooms,
graced in delicate crystal chandeliers,
and studies lined with books
about everything from philosophy
to fantastical adventures through space.
Yet the air is still tainted
with memories of the past.

The resident of this glorious mansion
coats the walls with a new layer
of thick white paint
until every crack and bruise is nowhere to be seen.
They scrub every old wooden floor
until the tear stains become nothing more than a memory,
soon to be forgotten.
Yet one scar cannot be scrubbed away or painted over.
For the air is still tainted
with words of hopelessness and sorrow.

The walls still remember
when they were cracked, beaten, and mistreated.
The floors still remember
the tear stains on their dusty floorboards.
And the air is still tainted
with fear of the past,

Of the past endlessly repeating.
Of the past relentlessly lingering.
Making it impossible

to breathe in fresh air.


Esther Blum is 15 years old; she lives in Los Angeles, California. Esther enjoys writing songs and playing guitar and piano.  But she also loves spending time in nature with her dog.


image: Ksenia Chernay in Pexels

Ode to a Grapefruit

By: Oliver

The slimy grapefruit was the eye of the crocodile
until the day two hunters lurked out from the shadows of the fruit
and beheaded him.
They reached into his head
And pulled out his eye
And washed it in a kitchen sink
And that was the beginning of the tangy, acidic grapefruit’s cold-shelved journey.

Sister to the lemon and cousin to the orange.
Sour as pickles from the deli.
Round as a roly-poly bug when it gets scared
she was a wonder, an impossible phenomenon. 
Unfortunately, society sees grapefruits as inferior.

To be murdered and sliced open with serrated knives
and devoured.
To be celebrated for its taste but not its character,
that’s why the grapefruit walks around in mortal fear.
Her insides, pink as the eraser on a pencil, will be eaten
And her life will come to an end.
And she is painfully right.

One day when she is chilling at the supermarket
chit-chatting with her fellow grapefruits
a middle-aged mother, who looks awfully hungry,
grabs her and separates her from her family
And slices her bumpy outside open, slowly and painfully
And digs into her gut with a sharp grapefruit spoon
And takes a bite into the juicy grapefruit,
soft as a bald head,
the plump, spherical, citrusy earth of miracles.


Oliver is 12 years old; he lives in Manhattan, New York.  Oliver disclosed that he was eleven when he wrote "Ode to a Grapefruit;"  he is currently working on a science fiction novel.


image: Elina Krima on Pexels