By: Rebecca Huang
The shot rings out in place of a bell.
Left, right, left. 
The sound of our boots and the heart-wrenching cries blend together into one cacophonous symphony
And we march to its beat. 
One by one the students fall into the onslaught of indifference.
As the cannons fire in the fields
Where fallen comrades lay mangled and broken and
But this time the bloody sacrifices will not go unaccounted for.
In our Sherman’s march, we will blaze a path of solidarity
Trailing behind us a scarlet line 
On our trek to the Capitol.
When will you Kings on the mount of the hill
finally open your eyes to the suffering that surrounds you?
You have locked yourselves away in a glass cage.
Do the walls mute the cry of our brethren?
When you wake up every morning and see the sunrise,
Do you think about the all the sunrises they will
never see?
How much longer will it take before the broken shards of their dreams break through your wall of apathy?
He claimed that the devil made him do it.
What about you?
One day your cage will shatter from the pressure of our pain.
One day your cage will shatter.
Rebecca Huang is 16 and lives in Darnestown, Maryland.

Dance of Disassembly

By: Tristan Deeley
We dance to the music no-one hears—the beats of our hearts, the breaths of our lungs, the caresses of our minds. No matter. Music of the mouth is unnatural and discordant; instruments are not as perfect as we are.
I take your hand in mine, then take you all, from the shoulder onwards. When you twirl, the simple twist lends me your other arm, like soft clay being taken apart.
Armless, harmless, you spin to the floor, legs spread wide for me. A gentle tug, the ones you like, which elicit purrs from your porcelain throat, and I have them, too. 
The torso is much harder. Nothing to hold and pull, at least not without hurting you. I run a fingernail gently across your neck, and that does the trick. You fall apart.
You roll away now, as I pick up your body and follow. You’ve gone far ahead. Ahead; I chuckle throatily at the thought. I am so tired. Only the sane sleep.
I catch your head, the backs of my fingers resting on your delicate cheek. You cannot leave yet. Not until I am done. Not until we finish our dance. I smile softly into your eyes, your cold glare sending arrows up at me. You hadn’t thought I would take it this far.
I ponder your eyes. Deep brown, like chocolate. Wild, though. Untameable, untakeable. I look at my full arms. There is no room, anyway. I would not want to break them. They look beautiful in your sockets, and I must leave something. A single tear runs down your snowy face, falling to the marble ground. But I am still hungry. Not my mouth, nor my stomach, but my soul.
With a final kiss, I take your lips, and I tuck them into my breast-pocket. For later.
Tristan Deeley is 17 and lives in Queensland, Australia.


An Adventurous Heart

By: Madeline Rick

I wandered through the desert

With nothing but my guitar,

I trekked across the seas—

Waves tossed me near and far.

I dined in all the palaces,

And lived like kings and queens,

I napped amongst the jungle:

Wild, and yet serene.

But nothing, I admit

Prepared me well for this—

For you

My dear,

After all, I fear

Have slain me with a kiss.

Madeline is 18 and lives in Temperance, Missouri 


By: Tempest Erykson

I wanted
to be beautiful.
Isn’t that
how all the stories start?
But when he says,
“you’re beautiful,”
it doesn’t feel
like a compliment.
And when he shouts,
“hey there,
it sounds
like a threat.
Call me
but I don’t want
to be beautiful.

Tempest Erykson is 13 and lives in Seattle, Washington

The Bird

By: Eli Hoban

Sitting in solitude,

the solemn bird is eyeing

his former paradise.

He endures the scent of rotted

wood and stale grass,

facing the repercussions

of the politics

of nature.



After the bombs

of cold have flown over, leaving

mushroom clouds

of snow and taking

the leaves of the

trees as speechless



There is nothing left but

a view of his

former paradise.


On the face of the seemingly

tangled trees and

dead woods,

he can read the



“It’s time to leave.”


So he flies from

this war zone in

search of another

soon to come.


Eli is a seventeen year old from Missouri.

I'm Done

By: Laura Bond

If all men are created equal,

Why are people discriminated for their race or gender?

Women are told to cover up

Women are told to be modest.

Who told the men to chill and that we aren’t toys to play with?


Some men are like dogs

Barking at girls

Telling us how pretty we are when we don’t know them

Making us very uncomfortable

I’m done with the stereotypes

I’m done being catcalled on the street.

I’m done being afraid of my body.


If this is “the home of the free,”

Why did gay people only recently get the right to marry?

Cars screaming to a stop so people can yell discriminating words.

How would they like it if I complained?

But I don’t


I’m done with being scared

I’m done with being provoked

I’m done with walking alone and being scared.

I hate being bullied for who I am.


Call me fat,

Call me ugly


I don’t care.


Say what you like

I’ll just accept it!

I am fat.

Fabulous and terrific.

I’m done with the hate.

I’m done with the hurt.


Why are we not all seen as the same?

We are on the inside.


Laura is 14 and lives in Wyoming.

The Crush

By: Morgan Fillis

It's the first week of school and you already noticed him.
A boy with eyes as pure honey,
a smile that could light up the darkest caves,
and freckles spread across his face.
Somehow you were lucky enough for him to notice you
and the cute boy across the room was yours.
He looked at you and all you felt was the flutter of a dozen butterflies in your chest.

He soon started to explore your body.
You liked it,
for a while.
The feeling of his hands tracing every inch of you left you breathless.
He knew how to make you weak with one touch.
Soon you were entranced in his spell.
You were his and everyone knew it,
especially him.

The word “no” was quickly removed from his vocabulary
and you no longer enjoyed the things you did in the beginning.
His gentle touches turned into daggers grazed across your thighs,
his kiss felt like the flames of hell,
and his words no longer felt genuine but scripted.

His touch was an uncomfortable feeling so you pushed his hands away
but the bruises told you to stop.
You were weak,
and could no longer remember how to breathe.
It was as if he were holding your head under water for hours on end.

One day your shackles were loose and you finally left.
You were free from the toxic relationship.
You could breathe again.
Every breath you took felt crisp as a summer’s night
but you still didn't feel the same.
It was as if you forgot to pack your bags before leaving.
Something was missing and you desperately wanted it back.

Your dignity,
and happiness was left behind.
But it was more than that.
He took a piece of your soul from your body
just so you could never feel like yourself again.
You began to believe he was the only way you ever could feel like yourself again,
but were never foolish enough to go back.
You still see the cute boy across the room
but his hands are dirty and eyes no longer pure.
Everything has changed, and this is where a new story begins.

Morgan Fillis is 15 and lives in Mount Angel, Oregon.


By: Morgan Fillis

Not just for marines
but for teens with crooked pasts.
A life-long sentence
filled with life-long weakness and flashbacks.
Flashbacks to the day he wouldn’t take no for an answer,
the day that daddy raised his fist,
or the day that your sister left with no goodbye.
Just so she was happy instead of you.

They say get over it, as if it's easy.
The pain,
the memories,
and the abuse are carved into our minds and onto our skin.

Get over it?
I wish I could.
Just try not to think about it.
But the silence is a killer too.
The instance played out in our heads
clear enough to believe it happened yesterday.
A cycle of fear that feels never ending
without a gunshot
or prescription meds.
A ticking time bomb
and a game of chance.
Sit back and watch the ptsd entrance.

Morgan Fillis is 15 and lives in Mount Angel, Oregon.


By: Michael Leonard

Life’s best metaphor is water
with its infinite possibilities.

You can be powerful
like a tsunami.

You can be beautiful
like a waterfall.

You can bring life to new places
like rain.

You can be easy-going
like a river through the countryside,

flowing where ever you get pulled

never taking a straight path,
with twists and turns not always making sense.

Certain beauty brought on by the path you carve.
Occasional rough spots; it’s not always easy to keep going.

You just have to decide what mark you want to make.
A simple creek or a roaring river.

Michael Leonard is 18 years old. He lives in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.

The Brick Wall

By: Hannah Paterson

The hope lingered on the wall, there, as I stood,
if I could take it, then I would.
Though it stayed there stuck like glue,
I pray that my hope had stayed there too.

I felt the inspiration in the sea.
I wished not to leave it be,
and though I left it for someone new,
I felt the hope inside me too.

I saw the love in the world.
I watched it as it danced and twirled,
and though I had enough for me,
I watched it spread from sea to sea.

Hannah Paterson is 12 years old. She lives in Sanford, Maine.