Journeys

By: Sarah Beth Lupien

Because my family was in danger, we had to leave.
Because we had to leave, we needed to get to another country.

Because we tried to get into America, they put us in this camp.
Because we are in this camp, I know no one cares.
Because no one cares, I lost my family.
Because my family is lost, I am lost too.

Because I am lost, I need help.
Because I need help, they sent someone to listen.
Because someone came and listened, I told them my story.
Because they heard my story, they cared.

Because they cared, they found my family.
Because they found my family, they found me.
Because they found me, I am safe.

Because I wasn’t safe, people must hear my story.
Because I must tell my story, I have much work to do.

 

Sarah Beth is 10 years old; she lives in South Portland, Maine.  Sarah Beth loves being around people; she loves basketball and music and is super-excited to publish her first poem.

 

image: Kalhh from Pixabay



A Mind of Its Own

By: Analise Braddock

 

The earth has a mind of its own,
Speaking to us,
Each sound, its own meaning.

Today I heard its heartbeat,
As an apple fell from a tree,
Like a gift into my hands.

I thanked it,
Always talking, whether we listen or not,
Its words a puzzle only you can solve.

I hear the cry of animals, in pain or joy.
I hear the sound of silence, striking me.
I hear the weather as it comes, gentle and warm, or cold and violent

I listen to the plants,
Growing with each shower
To become something beyond us.

Earth notices each movement.
It listens to everyone, even you.
It hears your thoughts,
All your fears and worries,
All you joy and passions.

Most of all, listen carefully.
The earth speaks,
With a mind of its own.

 

Analise Braddock is 10 years old and from Katonah, New York. She has four pets and some day she dreams of becoming a screenwriter. 

Photo by Louis from Pexels



Across the Marsh

By: Kevin Dunse

Across the marsh, the morning dew
Across the marsh, and through the slough
The hunter trudges, in the dark
Across the marsh, he does embark

Through the swamp, below the hill
The hunter searches for a thrill
In the eve or in the light
The hunter’s hunting’s never trite

For through the slough and in the marsh
In conditions, light or harsh
Up the valley, ‘round the bends
The hunter’s hunting never ends

For fresh game, the hunter searches
In the valleys or in the birches
A hunter’s hunting is eternal
Never ending, Fall or vernal

But when each expedition closes
A new recollection it proposes
Across the marsh and in his head
A hunter’s hunting’s never dead.

 

Kevin Dunse is 18 years old and from rural Wisconsin. When he is not writing, he loves to spend his spare time outdoors, and some of his favorite activities are hunting, fishing, trapping, foraging, and hiking.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay



All of Me, None of Me

By: Jada Essary

When I was born
I had an indigo purple streak
among the crop of bright orange hair.
My mother was so proud of that streak
though she had done nothing to cause it.
I was proud too.
I felt special,
I loved my purple streak.

But one day it faded
like all earthly things do.
My special streak packed up and left
and now I remain
with no purple streak to make my mother proud.

When I was seven
I was taller than everyone around me
in my seven-year old world.
I could reach up and pat the tops of skyscrapers,
and see over the tallest of mountains.
I inherited my height from my father
who was so tall
that when he picked me up and carried me
together we could brush the stars.

But one day it faded
like all earthly things do.
My father’s height dwindled as everyone around me grew
and now I remain
too short to brush the stars.

When I was fresh into this world,
a babe so small and fragile,
I was the brightest head around
with my fiery orange hair.
“Our furious little fire engine,”
my dark-haired parents said with a smile.
Do you know the odds?
It seemed like a sign
that I was spunky and unique,
full of bravery and life.
What does that say of me now?

Because one day it faded
like all earthly things do.
My hair is not brown!!
And now I remain,
with no fiery orange hair to proclaim that I have defied the odds.

What will leave me next?
My intellect, my kindness?
My passion for learning or my enthusiasm for reading?
My Native American heritage, or my headstrong outlook on life?
And what of my mother’s warm brown eyes?
What of my father’s mind for business?
Will they leave me too?
I am afraid of this woman I am becoming. 

I am afraid of her
because she is me, all of me and none of me.
I am afraid of her
because she hides all the things unique to me.

I want to un-mask the woman I am becoming,

to show that she is not made of plastic.
But she resists, and I no longer know who remains.

 

Jada Essary is 14 years old; she lives in Missouri.  Jada’s favorite season is summer, and some day Jada would love to build her dream home – a library ten stories tall.

 

image:Matheus Bertelli in Pexels



A Night to Remember

By: Simona Ickia Ngaullo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There she stands, with tears in her eyes.
Talking to him, as this sleepless and anxious night arises.
Gloomy and dark as if a storm was making its way in the air.
A night to be remembered.
There he stands, with joy on his face.
Giggling and smiling, waiting for mama to tell one of her famous stories.
Sad and dark night, nothing could take away his joy.
A night to be remembered.

There she is, shaking and scared,
wishing he didn’t have to go now.
At that moment, age is not a barrier.

For her seven means sweet and unoffending.
Seven means stainless and guiltless, blameless and young.
For them, seven means virile and rough,
seven means responsible and though, rigorous and violent.

He is too young to understand
that he is embarking on a boat where,
the return and tomorrow are not promised.
But in situations like this,
he is forced to fight to survive.

She trembles with fear in her heart,
talking about how obscure, large and dry the cave is.
A cave that makes you cold hearted and careless,
where your innocent hands are washed in blood.

War
She tells him:
“As this cave extends deep underground, so your fear should reside”.
He looks at her with eyes wide open
and his head tilted to the side,
listening and trying to put the pieces together.
She knows he doesn’t understand,
but hopes that her words will forever be kept in his heart.

He starts crying,
it is time for goodbyes.
Ignorant about what awaits for him,
she tells him she loves him,
He tells her he loves her.
A mama only wants what’s best for her son, but in situations like this,
she is forced to do otherwise.
He stares at her, cementing this moment in his memory.
A gloomy dark night, his mama’s wet cheeks.
He says, “It is a night to be remembered."

Simona Ickia Ngaullo is a 17 year old girl, living in Maine. She is originally from the Republic of Congo. Aside from dancing, writing is the biggest part of her life, anbd has been since 7th grade. She strongly believes that she can change the world with her words.



The Sweet Scented Lilies, Soup, and Music

By: Tanvi Nagar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I

We strung together the sweet scented lilac lilies with perfection,
and laced the low hanging air of despair with magical melodies.
The red, blue and green lines on the screens fluctuated freely,
tirelessly racing rhythmically, as if creating music.
The aroma of light-yellow luscious lamb soup escaped from the bowl
as if racing toward the white square tiled ceiling.

II

My glassy eyes, stayed fixed upon the skeleton before me- bones, flesh and a little you,
encased in a coffin of peachy pale skin and numerous twisted tubes.
The incisions in your skin were fresh,little red droplets of blood oozed out
And made my heart beat faster. It fluttered like a kite in the sky before its string is cut.
The skin on your hands and feet hung loose and lifeless,
making it harder to imagine how blood was gushing underneath this sheet.
There was so much movement in the molecules of your being and yet,
there was so much stillness in the spirit of your existence.
Your eyelids were closed shut, concealing the gateway to your universe within,
like the white sheet that covered the scars the sharp needles left on your body.

III

We strung together the sweet scented lilac lilies with perfection,
and laced the low hanging air of despair with magical melodies.
The red, blue and green lines on the screens fluctuated freely,
tirelessly racing rhythmically, as if creating music.
The aroma of light-yellow luscious lamb soup escaped from the bowl
as if racing toward the white square tiled ceiling.

It was hard to imagine the life of a human, so powerful yet dangerously delicate,
hanging on the monitors, meters, measurements.
It was still harder to imagine what pulling the plug from a socket
can do to the life hanging on like threads of loose cloth ripped at the ends.

IV

The lilac lilies danced in farewell, to some sad song it seemed
the monitors were singing slower, slower and slower still
with their constant repeating beat- beep.
The beat resounded and repeated
until the notes on the screen
refused to go up and down
and the fumes from
the soup didn’t
escape at
all.

Tanvi Nagar is a high school senior at Delhi Public School, Gurgaon, India. She has been writing for the past eight years and is passionate about public speaking, travelling, playing sports and reading. She has contributed to national newspapers, has authored four books, and won several literary awards. She loves listening to Halsey, eating traditional Indian cuisine, and singing in the rain. 



tonight the beach is calm

By: Lulu Pettit

 

they say the beach at night is calm,

and quiet. 

 

it's not, always, but tonight it is. 

 

it's calm, even as the children 

play in tide pools by the water, even as

birds fly above, waiting 

for the kids to drop something to eat. 

 

it's quiet, even as the waves 

crash enough to scare me, even as

you talk about the stars, which 

we know nothing of. 

 

it's calm, even as the water 

fizzes more than your champagne, even as

the scattered strangers amble 

along the sand behind us. 

 

it's quiet, even as my mind 

asks the questions we can't answer, even as

fireworks go off somewhere downshore,

a whole month too late. 

 

they say the beach at night is calm,

and quiet. 

 

it's not, always, but tonight it is.

 
 
Lulu Pettit lives in Philadelphia, PA. She is 16 years old. Lulu spends her days planning her next NaNoWriMo, watching an absurd amount of rom-coms, and roller skating in her friendly neighborhood graveyard.
 
Image by Jayson Delos Santos


Dreams

By: Anusha Upadhyayula

A strange land of familiarity
Yet ever unpredictably changing
Flowing in deep rivers of memory
Where our minds reside and start creating
A new universe yet to be explored
Where dogs talk and stars play merry-go-round
Where I’m not a puppet to be controlled
A place to live in is what I have found
Free from any responsibility
I can become anything I wish
If I believe there’s possibility
The time when all my fantasies come true
Happening in both darkness and daylight
I can envision a future that’s bright

 

Anusha Upadhyayula is 13 years old and lives in Campbell, California. She goes through phases where she can't pen her thoughts fast enough. She loves to read, volunteer with shelter animals, and watch Bollywood movies. 
 
Image by Comfreak from Pixabay
 


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
aisle
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



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

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