February

By: Sierra Morgan

February,
the land melts by day,
binds back together, freezing by night.
Snowbanks come undone in the sunlight,
icebergs sail like sinking ships in mud puddles.
This is not supposed to happen.

By now,
the sap is running, too early
instead of waiting, dormant,
for the cadence of the temperature swings in March.
The once vibrant witch hazel flowers
have lost their bold yellow faces
to crumpled fibrous brown bones.

The earth a pale palette of browns, grays, greens,
white snow stained with sand,
like an old tablecloth, tattered at the edges,
retreating and fraying with time.

A sprinkle of confused raindrops land on my cheeks,
the sky’s tears melting from their crystalline state as snow clouds.
Soggy, damp, the ground caves with the weight,
boots slurp in the mud, when they rise with each step.

White pines brush the lowest branches of the oak,
Who stands like a brittle statue,
Until the wind rocks the trunk gently, branches sway.
The slender paper birch whose scrolls of bark flake gently,
Sparse branches evenly fixed upon the trunk.

The air is still dry,
deep breaths in carry a cold nip.
Silence protrudes in the forest,
tree limbs curved in serene arcs,
tranquility, a blanket like the snow.
Dreariness births a pause of calm,
hurls me a chance for reflection.
This kind of beauty feels different,
where through the drabness, I begin to discover the unseen,
like exploring who I really am,
I am looking to see the deeper layers of these forests.
And when I find them,
I’m finding a part of myself.
February.
 

Sierra Morgan lives in Alna, Maine; she is 13 years old. Historical fiction is her favorite genre to read, and she loves history. She also has an interest in genealogy, and she loves hearing people tell stories. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, biking, and she has recently recently learned to row. She loves writing letters too.



Shot. Four. Samuel

By: Benedita Mayanda Zalabantu

He lost his life at the age of four.

Too young to understand how the world works.
Too young to even remember me.
It wasn’t his time to go.
They know, I know.

It hurts. I’m hurt. I’ve been hurt.

I have held memories of you sitting on my lap, laughing.
I have held memories of you crying, of me trying to sing in English.
I have held memories of the times you started crawling.
I was excited. I was very excited.

Two months before November 29, shots were fired.
I saw your mom today, and that’s how I know you’ve left this world.
I’m sorry.
I asked your mom again and again where you were.
I was excited.
And she just looked at me.
I felt selfish.

“Where’s Samuel,” I turn to my mom. “Can you ask where Samuel is?”.
I was too blind to notice how dead you looked outside, I was too foolish to realize that you were suffering.
I am sorry.

“Where’s Samuel” I asked for the fourth time.
You started crying.
I am sorry.

I left because mama told me to.
I remember looking at you at the door while tears crawled out of your eyes, and found their way to your lap.
I saw.
“Samuel died two months ago”, she said.
“You are lying.”
He was only four Mama.
He was only four.

Why would someone shoot at a child?
Two shots were fired that took this child away.
I didn’t know how to cope with this, so I started writing.
I am crying.
I was crying.
I’m still crying.

He was only four.
I haven’t seen him since his first birthday.
I will never see him again,
I will never get to celebrate his birthday.

“He was only four, mama, why would they shoot a four-year-old?”
“He never learned to say my name correctly, I never got to see him walking, mama.”

I wrote.
I cried.
I am crying.
I’ve been crying. I am sorry.

I apologize for being foolish; I am sorry for not knowing any better; I am sorry for not being there.
Shots were fired that took someone’s child away, it stripped me from the role of being an aunt.
I hate you, world.
I hate you for taking someone’s child away. I hate you for being cruel.
Hate you for making me cry while I write this poem in anger.
Hate you for not warning me.

But, I am sorry.

Benedita Mayanda Zalabantu lives in Portland, Maine and is 17 years old. In her free time she enjoys watching documentaries which have led to her interest in pursuing a career in law. Benedita also speaks four different languages (Portuguese, Lingala, French and English).

 


The Writing of Writing

By: Eva Marder

I feel comfortable speaking poetry.
My pencil willingly washes onto my paper
like seashells onshore.

Prose reaches for an explanation
but poetry severely questions.
Poetry gives hard answers,
hard realities,
but sometimes lame excuses
for repeating useless words.
Repeating words that are useless.

Poetry uses the firm grammar
of sonnets and Haikus,
though, I will never be fluent
in the weird syllables and meter
famed poets have issued.

Writing is often a learned skill,
but can appear as an inherent quality.
Despite my years in English class,
I struggle with basic prose
because my native tongue is poetry.

 

Eva Marder is 15 years old; she lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Some fun facts about Eva are she loves darkroom photography and dreams of being in Congress one day.



Behind the Yellow Curtains

By: Jasmine Jaramillo

Sun still seeps in through
the heavy yellow curtains
hanging high over my window.

When I open the window
I see an empty street
absent of any movement outside.

If today was anything like before
my street would be packed now.
The people walking with their kids in hand,
and hearing the buzz of bustling buses and cars.

Now all I hear is quiet.
I am alone, working only through
the laptop screen atop the rough, cracking
wooden desk.

Everything feels wrong after weeks
and weeks inside, where there is nothing to
touch, hear or see anymore.

Once I held high hopes over my head
for the future.
But isolation, surrounded by my white walls
and windows,
an overwhelming sense of hopelessness
is now the only thing
in my future.

 

Jasmine is 18 years old; she lives in Norwalk, California.  Jasmine likes singing and acting in her high school shows; she also plays the piano and especially enjoys hanging out with her friends.

 

image: Jackson David at Pexels



Words Burn

By: Kamila Martinez

     Screaming. LOUD into my pillow.
Tears you never have to look at,
my broken heart beating hard in my chest.

Nasty, naive, narcissistic, negative or
cold, candid, callous.

Walking miles in tight heels, the
words dig their way painfully into my heart.

When the words have torn me apart,
gasping for breath,
faking a smile proving, “I’m fine,”
with blisters on my toes and soul,

I listen to the words and feel their impact.
It feels like wildfire burning my already burnt skin.

Goodbye now!
I hope you heard my screaming and crying.

If you did then you broke me.
If you did then watch your mouth.
If you didn’t, have a good day.

 

Kamila Martinez is 15 years old; she lives in Wood Ridge, New Jersey.  Kamila is a cross country runner who writes in-between races.  She has a five year old pug who loves to binge Netflix and Disney movies with her.

 

image:Moein Moradi by Pexels



Klub Klondike

By: Paloma Fernandez

What if
Green felt on pool tables
Was replaced with real grass
That kept growing taller and taller
Throughout the game
Until the grass reached into the trees
That surrounded the lake filled
With melted glaciers
And somehow friendly snakes
Watching your toes grip to smooth rocks
And hands grasping the thick rope
Which hasn’t showed signs of fraying?

But pool tables will never have
Lush green grass.
They will always remain
Dirty green felt with wood warped
From beer bottle stains
In unusual bars
On back dirt roads
With jukeboxes
Containing only country music
Where old men order another round
And no one shows up on karaoke night
And your thighs
Stick to leather booths
On hot summer nights
And the bartender stares at you as you laugh
At his awful jokes
But maybe
I’m distracting myself because
I don’t know how to play pool.

 

Paloma Fernandez is 15 years old and lives in San Fransico, California. She is currently in the Creative Writing department at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. Since writing this poem she has indeed learned out to play pool.



... in the summer

By: Harriet McKane

June
creatures buzzing in thick swarms
itchy skin
misty air creeping around wet ground
bell-like bird calls cut through tall trees
rays of golden light dapple pine needle covered ground
bare feet bounce through fiery dandelion fields
old mud from spring remains under the lush grass
lake water touches our skin for the first time this year
summer has begun

July
cold blue skies are shattered by bright popping colors
dry air replaces June’s wet muggy smog
soft muzzles touch our hands
hoof prints in a dusty arena
water buckets and stalls
a sky blue pool
splashing our faces with cool water
laughter

August
heat pounds down on the earth
from a clementine orange sun
a never ending road to an unknown destination
black and white cats plopped on a hardwood floor
bonfires
a squealing pig
new country and Taylor Swift
a road trip
roller coasters and fried dough

September
tips of leaves fade into electric orange
acorns hit the brown grass
heat fades into crisp cool breezes
a last dip in our favorite pond
squirrels scatter
the mid-coast summer has ended
 

 

Harriet McKane is 13 years old; she lives in Wiscasset, Maine.  Harriet likes to ride a chestnut mare named Chase; she has a crazy bunny named Nyla and she plays the flute.

 

image by Kevin Derrick at Pixabay



The Tree

By: Laila Brady

Soft soil
whispers silently around me,
no light reaches me,
no sound
penetrates my dark, tranquil abode.
Above, I know there is sun.
It glows like a beacon
showering the delicate, lacy grass
as I sit waiting, listening,
until I break through the surface.

Growing, stretching,
I reach for the sun,
and bask in a robust burst of noon light,
shattering the blue sky
soaking in its brilliance.
I sigh,
leaves shaking, branches twirling.

Many years I have stood,
through winters, springs,
summers, and falls.
I have weathered storms,
outlasting the birds
and the frogs
that live in the dark, murky waters
of the pond.
I have seen
the passing of day
and the lasting night
many times.

Now I rest.
Laying down my branches,
looking up one more time
and making room for new generations.
Giving to the earth,
even after I fall to the ground
with an echoing crash
sounding through the forest.
Lingering,
even after the sun sets,
and all is dark.
 

Laila Brady is 13 years old; she lives in Hallowell, Maine.  A fun fact about Laila is that she plays the violin.

 

Image by veeterzy at Pexels



paint me

By: Lauren Young

paint me
blue to remind me of your eyes
like deep oceans.  I drown and die.
Blue are the bruises that
my knees and arms carry; the veins
that run through my body, looking
translucent like light birds.

Blue is anxiety.
When I can’t breathe,
I clutch your hand tightly;
my lips are not a lively red
but almost faint from the cold of your body.

Blue was the rain that I drew on
paper when we were together.
It was the ribbon that you tied
a birthday gift with.
It was the bracelet that left scars
when you saved my life.

Your grave is gray and dark and gone,
but I remember you in the blues.
My favorite color.
 

 

Lauren Young is 17 years old; she lives in Stamford, CT.  Besides creative writing, Lauren enjoys figure skating, listening to music, and photography.  She is on a search for the best bubble tea drink.

 

image: Nick Collins at Pexels



Raindrops

By: Addy Lee

I am filled with raindrops with

Lavender

Colored leaves

I am like a paintbrush snaking through

pools of color

Pools

Or confusion

I seem like a yellow pencil

scribbling words in color

Words made

with sweet smelling sunshine

I am a purple

star-deprived sky filled

with cotton candy clouds

Clouds disappear into the darkness

I am filled with raindrops

Dripping

down

down

onto the rough pavement

Sometimes I am a red paint bucket brimming

with vibrant colors

Colors

Gushing out of every corner

Rushing Into every room

Always changing

an art museum that hangs new pictures each day.

I seem like a watermelon red marker

never

Dries out

Never ending brilliance

I am an unlit

dark room

Crowded

With fireflies

An orange, warm fire

A beach ball sun.

Flying through the sky,

Pounding a rhythm on the roof

I am filled with raindrops.

 

Addy Lee is 11 years old and lives in Seattle, WA, USA. Some fun facts about Addy is that she has lived in Seattle her whole life and she loves music and cats. 

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