A Cherry Tree

By: Stanley Zhao

A Cherry Tree


Vibrant crystals of white snow,

Waltzing in the wake of the chilly breeze,

Fluttering back and forth, right and left,

Towards the reaching hands of a lone cherry tree


The cherry tree, a soldier in a worn, barren land,

A survivor of the most fearsome winds,

The most daunting rains, the most playful children,

But its soul lingers 

At the hands of the worst of winter.

Branches lie naked, trunk sits stiff,

Roots rest hungry, leaves remain absent.



In a shower of snowflakes,

The cherry tree regains its beauty.

The snow adorns the tip

Of the slender, wooden arms

With twinkling lights 

And sprinkles the gnarled fingers

With icy confetti.

The chilly wind crowned its head

With a glittery veil

And the snow blankets the lonely roots

And embraces them in a cool, friendly kiss.


At sunset

Each snowflake reflects the soothing light

Of the sun,

Basking the cherry tree in a golden glow, 

Comforting the cherry tree,

And making it beautiful.

Stanley Zhao, 16, Portland, Tennessee, USA. Stanley is very passionate about world history and politics.

Women as Flowers

By: Ashley Hodgson

Unwelcome, amidst loose petals of late spring
of such white blossoms.
Each a little lace dress flitting about
at lofty heights,
all made up with make-up, brimming to bloom.

A laughable novelty
to be proudly gifted that corset-like dress.
Then told to wear it --
"Be unattainable. A lovely, pure white."

Upon the raw ears of a girl
a foolish color -- white sullied with apathetic ease.
Probably prefers her clay-baked overalls
sheer violet bruises, maroon-rose knees,
verdigris grass stains
over lofty standards of little white dresses.

Of young women in peak bloom.
Of buds clenched closed, fearing tongue of frost.
What to do with the aftermath of spring?

White cast aside to don mature black;
ditsy lace for womanly lingerie.
Left to gaze as unwitting sisters are plucked
from bare boughs of skeleton trees.
Extravagant funeral of mere, innocent change.

All from crippled ideology that would deny
all flowers die




Ashley is 18 years old; she lives in Greenville, South Carolina.  Some of her favorite things include casual conversation, aesthetic coffee shops, and of course, the rare full night’s sleep.


The Catalog

By: Deven Blake

The catalog reveals its entries,
they dance to and fro.
The librarians are posed as sentries,
protecting the knowledge that no one may know.

“Is this what you wanted?”
“Is this what you need
to stop the data
and its unlimited speed?”

“Is this who you wanted
to kill this disease
and stop the information
spreading through the machines?”

No, you may not see the glory!
And you cannot feel the thrill!
The hum of a million stories
is drowned out by the scream of the drill.

We whisper through the hallways
that we'd like to read the books
but instead we're labeled cretins!
and thieves, and baseless crooks!
And, yet, the catalog lays there waiting,
underestimated and all alone.

We're banned from reading its secrets
and we weep when the library is closed.


Deven Blake is 15 years old; he lives in Lewiston, Maine. Questions that inspired him to write this poem include, When we shift the location of analog data to digital data, who will control access to it? What will be lost? And finally, would it be best to have a soulless, forbidden catalog, or a limited selection of carefully guarded literature?



By: Ester Luna

Everyone says not to touch the thorns.

They’ll prick you, warn the parents, meaning well.

So every time she sees one of those plants,

Emerald green, glistening, and forbidden,

Dew-drops captured in the folds of its silk petals

Held as jealously as an oyster does its pearl,

The little girl shies away,

Scared not of hurting it,

But of being hurt by it.


But all the rose wants is to grow, then bloom, then die

As its roots reach deep into Earth’s depths,

As its velvet leaves absorb the sun’s golden rays

As its carefully enclosed bud fans out into sheets of pink

Not once does the rose strive to break porcelain skin with its thorns.


It didn’t mean to cause the little girl’s anguished cry

It didn’t want to be the cause of the mother’s condescending “I told you so .”


It just wants to grow nimble and strong, the rose.

Does it know that it is dangerous?

Is it capable of deciphering the looks of suspicious, fearful awe,

Looks it’s thrown by so many pairs of naive, superior eyes?


Does it know that the little girl had to wear a small, white bandage on the small, red wound?

Does the rose understand the pain it causes?

All the rose wants, after all, is to grow, then bloom, then die.


Ester Luna; 15; Washington, D.C. Ester is fluent in English, Italian and French. She has been studying Chinese for eleven years and Spanish for two.

Writer's Block

By: Chloe Basch

This sonnet is a masterpiece! So witty,
it is almost like the tangible thing!
Something new, 
might not be true… 
but I can’t wait to discern what comes next!
As my orbs fleetingly scan the text,
my tongue is as tied as a giraffe’s nape.
Try it again!
Try it again!
It will never come to an end!
I’m still thinking. 
Nothing’s cooking.
The chances of ideas are rooky,
then I think to myself:
Start over?
I need prosperity—
At least a four-leaf clover!
Then I ponder,
what if I scrawled,
what if I wrote my same exact same quote?
Writer’s block? 
Crazy talk!
I’ll just make my fingers walk!
Dwadle the stave! Type it up!
Moil until it’s done!
It is beguiling,
that I see,
and Most importantly:
Made by me.

Chloe Basch is 12 years old and lives in New York

My Outspoken Mother

By: Chloe Basch

My Outspoken Mother


She gave me fear.

She gave me hate.

She eyed me with disgust.

She gave me strength.


The fire escaped her lungs

And the flood absconded with her brain.

She resides

Withered away,

A novel amongst stories.

She fell off the shelf,

She snapped.

The ink that was once forced onto the paper,

That yearned to paint the world a different color;

Instead her words painted the limited pages.


Her spine shatters

Her pages wrinkle.

Her cover fractures,

And her story is forgotten.



Her story told the truth

And that is why she died.

We cannot know the truth,

For then the world would not be poverty stricken.

The world would not be




If there were more stories like her.


They did it

They ripped her pages

Burnt her cover.

They silenced what couldn’t be heard.

They killed the spark of fire left

Because that spark caused a conflagration.


The fire consumed libraries

Because they told lies.

It spread to schools

And buried the ashes.

Because they told lies.

She didn’t fall.

She didn’t burn.

Her story wasn’t forgotten.


Forgotten like mine

Like my father’s

Like my sister’s.


Her infamous truth did not overpower the lies that are enforced.

It did not flood every library

Every school;

But it killed everything that made me fit in.

Everything that made me the same


Chloe Basch,11, NY,NY USA


The Red and White Campbell's Beef Noodle Soup Can

By: Andrew Li

The red and white Campbell’s Beef Noodle Soup can,

created by heavy, hurting, hands, in a faded factory,

sits, idly.


It has the same mellow, metallic, touch as others of its kind.

It has the same lackluster label as others of its kind.


It has the




as others of its kind.


The price, nineteen cents, is printed boldly on the lid,

and the can is shipped off to a shop in Manhattan,

where a man comes everyday to buy it.

The man, Andy is his name,

whips out two dimes, grabs the can,

and tells the storekeeper to keep the change.


He returns to his easel in his studio

and opens the can

and takes in the boring bland aroma of the soup

and he consumes it like his mouth is a black hole

devouring the universe of beef, noodles, and soggy soup.


Yet it doesn’t deter him from buying another,

and another,

until twenty years have gone by.


Andrew Li, 18, Singapore






Highway Lullaby

By: Hunter Towne


Silence makes a sound
don’t you think?
Sometimes I can’t sleep
because the silence is so loud.

There is something about the nothing,
the absolute emptiness of a place
like walking through a forest on a snowy night.

Silence scares me.

I grew up in town
close to the highway
and the constant hum of tires on tar
has sung me to sleep the past 15 years.

Sometimes we go to a farm
in New Hampshire.
It’s beautiful
and I treasure my time there.
But I have a hard time sleeping.

It is just
yet, so

Silence has a sound
don’t you think?

Hunter Towne is 15 years old; she lives in Freeport, Maine.

of arc

By: Lara Katz

that man
he was a woman, with
cropped hair and cobwebbed

that illiterate woman
she fought a court to
remain single

she in drag brought men to
war horse to water they
drank they drank deep

that girl
won a war dressed in
white that peasant
commanded a dauphin

and he obeyed
like a dog that virgin
at nineteen she became ash
before her own funeral

that life
that swift.

Lara Katz is 16; she lives in Weston, Connecticut

The Wisest

By: Daniel Boyko

Upon receiving the reality beyond the most intelligent parts of my brain,
I discover the truth.
She’s by far the smartest of them all,
able to give advice on just about everything
in a language that isn’t her natural tongue.

The hard-core sciences, the puzzling history,
and sophisticated opinions on philosophy
are all answered with brilliance.
Yet, she’s never been formally taught any of it.

Sure, her mathematical computing skills aren’t on par with Caltech’s finest,
but she stopped attending school by third grade.
If only she had the opportunities that the wealthy American receives,
she would be hailed by all and would be placed on the same pedestal as Einstein himself.

There would be an element named after her,
a city, a town, an avenue, and an airport would be named the same as well,
and she would have invented some bewildering creation
that would forever revolutionize life as we know it.

The future would come fifty years earlier,
and cancer may be a thing of a past.
Sure, it could be that wisdom comes with age,
but if that were the case, a certain someone would be a little brighter.
Maybe, the whole world has just gotten education wrong.

Daniel Boyko is 14 years old and lives in Short Hills, New Jersey, USA