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

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

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

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
a squealing pig
new country and Taylor Swift
a road trip
roller coasters and fried dough

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.
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


By: Addy Lee

I am filled with raindrops with


Colored leaves

I am like a paintbrush snaking through

pools of color


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




onto the rough pavement

Sometimes I am a red paint bucket brimming

with vibrant 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


Dries out

Never ending brilliance

I am an unlit

dark room


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. 

The Tetralogy of Light

By: Eddie Xu

Under the elm
lie a child and a mother.
“Will the day come?”
“Yes, it will.
Do you see the stars?
They are sparks in the sky.
They ignited long time ago
to enlighten the people,
and bring hope to the dark time.”

“Then why are they disappearing?”
“Because even a star has its life.
Like us they perish,
but they bring light in their time.”

The child smiles.
So does the mother.
“Survive the dark,
and the light will come
to our side.”

The little boy stares
at the raging fire.
His mother lies
peaceful and serene
after a torture to her mind
for people seeing through
the eternity of dark.

“Aren’t you afraid?”
asked the priest aside.
“No, she just ignites herself
like the spark in the sky.
She gives us the light,
and, one day, so shall I,”
said the boy;
cried his heart.



Eddie Xu is 16 years old; he lives in Nanjing, China.  Eddie attends the Foreign Language School British Columbia Academy; he writes about society and the conscience, but only after 10 p.m. Sometimes he is inspired by literature where animals appear as symbols to criticize societal issues.

Image by Kyuubicreeper from Pixabay


By: Tara Yakaboski

I wait all day till the
perfect time comes.
When sunlight
the object of my desire 
just so,

I pick up the camera,
curl my fingers around the hand grip,
turn up the ISO,
lower the aperture,
increase the shutter speed.

From the first press
of the shutter button,
I know I have it.
The perfect

Photography is my escape.
Finding something
amidst the ordinary, is

people –
everything and
everyone has a story.
And there is no better
feeling than being the one
to tell it.

several moments in a video,
makes the moment incredible.
one moment in a photograph,
makes it



Tara Yakaboski is 14 years old; she lives in Cary, North Carolina. Some fun facts about Tara are -- she is an aspiring zoologist and photographer and she loves photographing the lemurs at the Duke Lemur Center where she is a junior docent.

Image by Congerdesign, Pixabay.


By: Patrick Wang

I am
the crystalline rays of the sun
refracted through evaporated dreams of a distant playground
my parents built for me.
Pass me through and see my colors.

Red blood, red bone Marlboro, red trailing off blue smoke
between you and me.
I’m crying
and you are so close I can smell your sweat mixing with ash.

“Man-up.  Real men don’t cry.”
I think about the swarm of limbs humming concertos of broken bottles and broken
marriages; holes in plaster walls.
The next time your hand finds my face, I don’t raise my arms up.

Instead, watching as red skin
marries blue smoke, birthing violet bruises.
“Am I a man yet?”

You don’t answer.

And my eyes grow like plums,
so ripe that
in the expanding darkness
I could be human.

Patrick Wang is 16 years old; he lives in Johns Creek, Georgia.  Fun fact: Patrick looks after numerous plants named after famous scientists.  His favorite is Copernicus Fernicus.

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay


Echo Sonnet to the Past

By: Emily Sandberg





Echo Sonnet to the Past




From where may I begin what’s done?                           None.
And from there, tackle pain or relief?                              Grief.
But will I accept or will I shun,                                         Run.
If in my heart, there remains only one charred leaf.        Leave.
Birds encircle the mind to no avail,                                  Fail.
Aiming and floundering, stepping with haste,                  Hate.
Yellow eyes fixed upon the unspoken trail,                      Ail.
For is this the journey or is it waste?                               Wait.
Glad are you that time cannot reverse?                          Worse.
From now I’d leap, falling forward, converse.                  Curse.
For now the barrier constricts me here,                           Hear.
But I feel you pushing, saving from fear.                          Near.

I feel your words when my mind slips back,                     Back.
But for the future moments, your words, I lack.                Back.


Inspired by “An Echo Sonnet to an Empty Page” by Robert Pack


Emily Sandberg is 17 years old and is from Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA. Some fun facts about Emily is that she has three dogs that are all poodles, and her favorite band is The Shins.