Nocturnal Poet

By: Gracie Foster

one morning, the poet stared out into the sun and said:

wretched ball of
wake me no more.
wretched ball of
yellow and red
blind me no more

why must I sleep during the day?
what is the point?
who thought of that?
from here on, I will not sleep under the moon.
but under the sun

later, at dawn, a child knocks on the poets door,
and the child says:

Why do you sleep in the day?
Most of us sleep in the night.
Night's when the sun goes away
and the moon becomes our light.

and the poet replies:

why might you sleep at night?

and the child thinks a moment:

It is what my mother does.
And it's what her mother did.
It is what my father does.
And it's what his father did.

and the poet retorts:

my answer is as simple as yours;
I sleep under the sun
just because I can.

and the child says:

I believe I am confused.

and the poet says:

do not be
have you ever thought of doing for the sake of
have you ever thought of being for the sake of
have you ever thought of loving for the sake of
ever thought of laughing
because you can?
as humans:
we can love
and have dreams
and have goals
and feel happy
and sad
and angry
and have friends
and write poems
and the poems don't have to have meaning,
or structure,
or rhythm,
or anything!
you can write a poem
just for the sake of writing a-

the child interjects:

I think you must go to sleep,
you must do it very soon.
this sun won't always keep,
and you may have to sleep underneath the moon.


Gracie is a 16 year old from Oneida, Tennessee.

Ana and I

By: Jennifer Xia

leftover |ˈleftˌōvər|
noun (usu. leftovers)
something, esp. food, remaining after the rest has been used or consumed.

i pick apart my body like
i am leftovers, the marred carcass lying
on the red checkerboard tablecloth at thanksgiving
miles and miles of bone beneath crackled skin and indigo veins
begging the doctor to cure my funhouse mirror eyes
distortions of curves, sweat, and body
a deep growl festers in my stomach that
the light bounces in all the wrong ways

glaucoma |glôˈkōmə|
noun Medicine
a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing gradual loss of sight.

a visit to the doctor tells me that
my eyes are made of disease
a buildup of fluid applying pressure to the optic nerve
but opticians cannot see everything
can’t identify that i see the face of my abuser every morning
find her in shiny faucets, silverware, and the backs of eyelids
i call her Ana and she tells me
i am in control
she stays for birthdays and holidays,
is there to celebrate the empty calorie victories
i am strong
i find myself laughing when the periphery of my vision blurs
maybe i will not see the distinction
between Ana and I with such a visual acuity
we almost look the same, but she is perfect
i have always been too much and not enough
miles and miles of bone 

midnight zone |ˈmidˌnīt zōn|
the part of the pelagic zone that extends from a depth of 1,000 to 4,000 m (3,300 to 13,100 ft) below the ocean surface.

a fumbling down the stairs has me back at the doctor
i tell them it’s nothing, blame it on vision loss and confused limbs
the dizzy spells will not make me weak
i am in control
my doctor says my eyes look flat, like peering
through the lens of a submarine window 5,000 feet under
blank and washed out
but there is no daytime in the midnight zone
organisms here feed on the dead that fall from above,
catching them before their prey sinks into the sea bed
here, i eat myself hollow, swallowing spoonfuls of pitch black until
i am the bottle half empty
in the midnight zone, only the gruesome survive the night
and in the darkness, i look like death
but here i am the captain, the bearer of what passes through me
miles and miles of bone
i am in control

recovery |riˈkəvərē|
noun ( pl. -eries)
the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost

i had forgotten that the sea was blue for so long
so afraid to swallow that
i was not in control
that maybe i could be so in control that i wasn’t at all
and it was so cold down here, feeble bones shaking with
truth made of calories i could not afford
but the moon hung beneath my eyes, begged for me to stay
when she couldn’t herself as she told the sad story of her waning
and i knew this was a cycle i did not want to be a part of
i remembered that the sea is blue
that my eyes were wide open, even when the black lips of night
kissed the light goodnight, i held on to every part of myself i could find
feeling with the hands of a mother who would not let go
and the feet of a father who walked beside me
i remembered that a submarine always resurfaces, passing through
the chest-heavy pressure to breach dark waters
one bite, two bites,
i am going through an archaeological expedition
to find myself again, miles and miles of bone
uncovering baggy clothing and hiding,
back bruising and spinal uprootings
three bites, four bites,
Ana is still here
still whispers that she is in control
coats my tongue with acid, the tastebud of guilt
but here i am trying, finding myself in what is no longer hers

euphotic zone |ˌyoōˈfōtik zōn|
the layer closer to the surface that receives enough light for photosynthesis to occur

there is both day and night here
healing and short of breath sinking
but i steep in sun and know it comes
lips pursed with the first kiss of beginnings
as the water spins golden
I am in control
and it’s okay when i am not
five bites, six bites,


Jennifer is a 16 year old from Plano, Texas.


Sky Wars

By: Saanvi Hitlamani


The night battles the day.

The day to the afternoon.

Then the winner is night.

A whole day is wars for the sky.

Sun and moon are the leaders.

They battle for the sky.

Two teams they have.

Emperors are the sun’s team.

Kings are the moon’s team.

Emperors bring fun.

Kings bring sleep.


Saanvi is a 6-year-old from Cupertino, California.

The 100 Children

By: Sameeksha Singh


There once was a couple who longed for some kids or a child

Though the wife knew that having them would be wild

She knew that they would play and fight

She was very right...


When the time came

Parents they became

The doctor counted them all

(Of course they weren't very tall)

"My, you have 100 CHILDREN!" the doctor said

While the mother put them all to bed


The parents were so very happy for they had more than one child

But the mother had been right—


Are very wild


Sameeksha is a 7-year-old from Seattle, Washington.

Sound of Silence

By: Gabriel Andino


There is a time at night

When the world has gone quiet

Not a single sound is made

And you are overwhelmed by it


The world is at rest

Yet your mind is awake

With nobody to talk to,

What is there to do until dawn breaks?


You find yourself in this situation

Time and time again

A mind and heart yearning for someone to talk to

In desperate need of a friend


This craving for interaction

Is no good for the soul

For with it comes sadness

And this sadness can take a heavy toll


Sitting in the darkness

Simply letting your thoughts roam

With nothing to hear but the sound of silence

This is when you feel most alone.


Gabriel is a 16-year-old student at The Woodlands College Park High School.

And Life Goes On

By: Kai Dranchak


These hallways are a battleground.

We smear on war paint with a side of toast.

In our backpacks we wedge weapons of self destruction in between our textbooks.

We have paper shields for protection,

Perforated graph paper to show our peers a different us.

An “us” that’s deemed safe from slurs and verbal punches.

They squash empathy and beauty; make sure you don’t show any.

Your body is a weapon but it will only ever destroy you.

Your life becomes a calendar,

Each day is a tick mark closer to your demise.


Become a body hanging from a newly blossomed tree.

Hear the bees hum under your limp limbs.

Become a body buried under the row of tulips.

Feel the roots entangle themselves around your tangled being.


There will be no more “goodmorning”s or “I love you”s.

Only goodbyes in the form of empty desks and unwritten papers.

They’ve got suicide notes in their back pockets,

But the teacher doesn’t care ‘cause that wasn’t the assignment.

The death threats and traveling whispers are swallowed with an “it happens”.


It happens.

A mother mourns her child’s death with prayers−  “Oh God, what did I do wrong?”,

A father can only bear to look at himself through the bottom of the glass,

And a sister grasps the concept of loss as her brother is nailed onto the cross,

But it happens.


Become the boy in the school speakers,

Your name echoes through empty hallways.

Become a hurricane of sorrow to people who never knew you,

For the people who abused you.

They could never mourn you between passing time

Because they were only ever just passing time,

Chipping away until there was nothing left to say.

Become a grain of salt in an hourglass,

Falling through the cracks.

The sand doesn’t sit at the bottom waiting for a restart.

The grains are gone and you will never get a second chance.


Kai wrote this poem as an 18-year-old in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Lavender Days

By: Eden Gately


With tongues blossoming

I feel your energy bursting through my nerves

I feel butterflies in me fluttering

and I sense your cold skin between our clothes


Take me in to fuse our souls

Let me warm your insides

Show me how to let your heart be my own

Let us share a voice

Take all I have and hold it close


With lavender pumping in our veins

I feel your shivers against my goosebumps

My butterflies have now turned into birds

and I open my eyes to meet yours


Take me into your universe

Let me be apart of it from the inside

Show me your favorite place, your favorite melody

Let my heart pump your lavender flood

Take all of my being and hold it forever


In the oneness of this moment

the birds in my stomach crash into one another

and I sense you through the peach fuzz

that keeps us two beings


Take me for an everlasting journey

Let me question how our worlds met

Show me how infinite our days are

Let my feet touch the ground besides yours

and take my hand as we walk to find the freshly blossomed lavender


Eden Gately currently attends the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is from Saratoga Springs, New York.

Onion or Hot Cocoa Mix

By: Perrin Jones


Ever feel that hunger as you walk through the door?

Doritos, Lay's Chips, Oreo Cookies,

maybe some vegan gluten free concoction if you're one of those people.

It burrows deep in your stomach,

demanding attention.


Ever feel that hunger last a few days?

No parents, no money, no power.

Where even one chip,

yes just one,

tastes like a delicacy.


Ever feel that hunger force you to insanity?

An onion or hot cocoa mix.

Two options on that cold empty shelf, a simple choice.

One outcome, hunger finally fulfilled.

Better not eat both though.


You'll starve.


Perrin Jones wrote this poem as a 17 year old in Saratoga Springs, New York.


By: Nimay Shankar


When the lights go out in the houses and the folks probably won’t leave,

big and little dragons come out, playing while the humans sleep.


They dance around, doing all sorts of things,

shooting fire and lightning and giant smoke rings.


They race across the sky, eating bats by the ton,

but that's not all; they're still not done.


They have claw-raking contests while demolishing trees,

nobody stands in the way, not even poisonous bees.


They laugh and talk and play all sorts of games,

including the ones the humans can't name.


When the sun comes up, the dragons go back,

for hard-earned rest and a peaceful nap.


Nimay is a 10 year old student at Blue Hills Elementary in Saratoga, California.

After, in the Farmhouse

By: Maja De Garay


I can hear him, convinced he is still here.

His footsteps echo the empty halls,

his voice fills rooms from across the house.

He lies just around each corner, just inside

the next room over.

He leaves lights on, a trail of bright windows

weave the house like vines.

Always ahead.

Trees sway outside windows,

mere observers of the cruelest game.

The footsteps fade to dull thumps on hardwood,

the voice no longer any competition for the wind against the shingles.

The roar of my own heartbeat,

rushing against my ears,

straining to fill the silent void.

They begin again.


Maja wrote this as a senior at Saratoga Springs High School in Saratoga Springs, New York.  She currently attends the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.