The Sun

By: Sofia Wendell

If you decide to take a spaceship to the sun, be prepared...

It is hot, just like a summer's day but scary like the dark,

It looks like a giant fiery ball that never stops spiraling towards you,

Your nose cringes at the smell of the dirty, chalky fumes,

You can hear crackling and bursting, just like an open fire in the mountains.

Before you leave, try a piece of the sun.

It tastes like over cooked bread, crispy with fumes and rocks.


Sofia Wendell is a 12 year old attending Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colorado.

"Did-You-Know" Sam

By: Sarah Margaret Ritch

This Sam will tell you many things of happiness or woe.

Sam's most famous question is a simple, "Did you know?"

"Did you know that sugar makes your body not alright?"

"Did you know to tie a string you have to tie it tight?"

"Did you know that lizards are like snakes, but with four feet?"

"Did you know that drowsiness will often make you sleep?"

"Did you know that seaweed is very much like kelp?"

If you want to find out something new, then Sam won't be much help.

Sarah Margaret Ritch is a 10 year old attending the Westminster School at Oak Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama.

Morals, The Tree, Life Smells like Candy and Newspapers, The Last Summer

By: Leia Hannum


My identity be dragged through mud
But I swear to you I’m clean
The idealistic prospect of pure intention
Isn’t always as it seems

All for the good of the world
All for tomorrow’s better day
And I mean well, but only you I’ll tell
For the rest I’ll dearly pay

I do it in the name of my country
And I do it in the name of pride
Is a lie truly a lie if the act is justified

My body be dragged through mud
But I swore that I was clean
I thought I’d try, for cause I’d die
But it was nothing as it seemed


The Tree

When I was once very young
My eyes blind, but I could see
I remember playing skip
By a single old oak tree

Tall, withering, and ancient
But not truly ancient
For time is only an agent
To those who age and cannot change it

This I told to the tree
Who’d seen tenfold years more than I
Pacing, praying, watching, waiting
He wanted no more than to die

“I once wanted to be free,” said the tree
To forests with freshwater tears
Not the gray, deserted, empty street
It had lived for all those years

Time had washed away his wish
This was the thought he had conceived
I said we are only as old
As old has told us to believe

The sky faded lilac as the tulips closed
“I’ll return tomorrow,” I say
But my promise, it proved, to somehow slip through
I would forget the very next day

Days, weeks, months into years
Each hour devoted to me
Only the night before I left the town for good
Did I remember that old tree

I drove to the place, to the gray, empty road
The air thin, quiet, and dead
I kneeled by the stump where the tree had once stood
And these were the words I said

“When I was once very young
I was blind but now I see
I remember playing skip
By the single old oak tree

Tall withering and ancient
But now truly ancient
For I have wronged, the tree is gone
And nothing I can do will change it”



Lies Smell like Candy and Newspapers

Let us be born, but never born free
For freedom’s the branch that arose from the seed
Which grows a heart and a soul
But ideas turn cold
When deemed dangerous, outrageous, just do as you’re told

Clocks upon clocks host their prisoners of time
Those who’d sell their souls for just a little more time
Or their bodies for a dime, but no, that’s a crime
Address only the issues that we’re willing to climb

We are told what to think and taught how to feel
But never taught to differentiate what’s fake and what’s real
Our history is a story and our story is the now
But God forbid a single person question who, why, or how

Let us die old, safe in the slavery of our chains
Numbed by pills upon pills to drive away our pains
“What more” they would ask
Upon tipping the flask
Filled with misery mixed with whiskey to harden the final mask


The Last Summer

The last Summer I would see was brilliant,
An ever-growing symphony of nature
Perfectly orchestrated by the tidings of blissful nothingness

The last Summer I would see was a violet gold,
Colors too bold to describe as the sun rose in silent motion
Driven by something so very unseen

The last Summer I would see was warm,
And unmoved by the winds that surrounded
For she shone so brightly that the snow sparkled
As it melted from the fingertips

The last Summer I would see was beautiful but timed,
The tick-tock of a clock that no one could hear
The sky was too lovely to recognize such a sound

The last Summer I would see was truly the last,
For the cold rose higher than she could climb for air
The relentless pursuit finished before it began

The last Summer I would see was ephemeral
By the mast of a boat, she set sail when she left
Her rays of sun just barely melting the snow 



Leia Hannum is a 15 year old attending The Woodlands College Park High School.

Trigger Warning, Part I

By: Cristina Port

You're going to see a mango and remember
when you were younger you would sit on that limestone wall and shuck the skin of the mango off with a little knife stolen from the kitchen
with your best friend Sydney
you accidentally fell in love with.

You're going to read a book about a man whose wife left him in the dust on a holiday
and be reminded of Thomas the brother you never had
who moved to Arizona
and had a shitty boyfriend that walked out on him
Christmas morning.

You're going to be shopping in the mall with your new boyfriend you cheated on with Michael and see your ex best friend's younger sister Jenna shopping for a pair of fake Birkenstocks
realizing you hadn't talked to her for years and she's three times taller and three times prettier than you remember. And then how you screwed up her older sister Cristina’s sense of trust
because you stole her boyfriend you knew she didn't really like.

You're going to see something blue and silver and remember the school you abandoned
because abortions aren't only for the body
and being ejected from everything you knew into a new small town
because a reputation is something written on a stone tablet.
If you run far enough away from it, it’s irrelevant.

Every time October 27th rolls around you think of Sydney and Michael (your childish boyfriend at the time who you didn’t really like, mostly because he had a dick) because on that day a few years ago you went to school and held your tongue throughout all of chemistry and didn't cry a single tear because you know damn well

people don’t change.


Cristina Port is 18 and lives in Rochester, Minnesota

The Onion

By: Brenna Smith


This papery, smooth, imperfect layer

Cannot be the true one. I take it in my hand

And peel away every bit. It comes off,

Like bad habits,

In irregular pieces-

A little at a time.


Now here is a moist

And shiny layer; I want to believe it

Is the true one. But wait-

Beneath it dwells

Another- just the same, smaller.



Grows gradually smaller

As you approach the



And here I have it,

At last

The last one.


A white, somewhat round thing, with the appearance of a seed, but fruitless.

Doubtless it was buried so deep to hide the shame of uselessness.


You cannot put an onion back together.


Brenna Smith is a writer, musician, and high school student from Tyler, Texas. She enjoys studying foreign languages, cooking Asian food, writing stories and poems on her 1917 Corona typewriter, performing competitively on the flute and piano, spending time with her family, and reading and discussing good books. She is currently writing the first draft of a novel she began in November 2015. 

My Hot Chocolate World

By: Shaheryar Chishty

My hot chocolate has a world of its own

Let’s see what happens and discover the unknown

A white polar bear crouches on top of my cup

It sits with her baby as it curls up

A rollercoaster of caramel spreads across the snow

As you drink it, it over flows

My hot chocolate is always trying to escape

It trickles down the side as soon as I touch my cake

A Jacuzzi of cream melts in my cup

You cans see chocolate bubbles, it's warming up

It slides down my oesophagus as I begin to swallow,

The slide looks so fun, my cake wants to follow!


Shaheryar Chishty is a 10 year old at Dobcroft School in Sheffield, England.

The Long Wait

By: Simmone Nadeem

The sky looked so dark yet felt so alive,
I was waiting for the days that just didn't yet arrive.
The clock ticked and hours went by,
Until I felt worthless to even try.
I closed my eyes hard and just hoped,
But still couldn't hear the birds that once chirped.
Once this world was filled with laughter,
Now it felt like happiness had denied to enter.
I just knew days like those would come once again,
Maybe it's just taking its ride on a delayed train.


Simmone Nadeem is a ninth grader at Nixor O Levels School in Karachi, Pakistan.

Ice-Cream Man

By: Lena Hartsough

I get to be at the Playground

every day.

Dada takes me there

and tells me to wait.

I get to play

every day.

I always play by myself,

but I like it.

I get to run around,

and swing,

and sometimes

The Ice-Cream Man

is there, and

he gives me Ice-Cream.

He lets me pick


I want!

Sometimes the grownups ask why I play by myself.

I tell them ’cause I’m a





The Ice-Cream Man

sometimes talks to me,

when there’s no one at the


He says weird things.

He says

“follow your dreams.”

He says

“everything will be okay.”

He says

“your dada loves you very much.”

I don’t know why he says that.

Sometimes he reads to me.

He brings books,

and shows me the pictures.

They belonged to a boy he knows.

Some nights,

he gives me food and

waits for Dada to come get me.

He shows me stars.

He names them.

They have big names.

He asks me questions, like

what do I want to be when I grow up.

I want to be lots of things, like

a fireman and

an Ice-Cream Man.

When I said that, he was


He picked me up

for the first time then.

After that he hugged me a lot.

That was when Dada started being


and later,

and later.

We saw more stars.

The Ice-Cream Man

said that they move.













Today, it is cold.

The Ice-Cream Man

lets me have Ice-Cream anyway.

There aren’t that many people in

the Playground.

After I have my Ice-Cream,

the Ice-Cream Man

tells me about how

Ice-Cream is made.

Then I run




the play structure.

I climb it.

The Ice-Cream Man

calls me over,

and we eat a sandwich.

Then we wait for Dada.

The Ice-Cream Man

sits with me,

on the floor.

It’s the first time he’s done that.

I start getting sleepy.

Dada’s very late,

The Ice-Cream Man


But I can’t go to sleep.

I’m a




stay up and wait for their Dadas.

When I wake up, there are people


And lots of

red and blue lights.

The Ice-Cream Man

is holding me,

and talking to a


I don’t get what they’re saying.

The Policeman

says that someone was on their

way here when



The Ice-Cream Man

holds me tighter.

He says something I don’t


He says,

“I can’t believe it.”

He says,

“What did he do to deserve this?”

He says,

“He doesn’t deserve this,

this taste of



What is


Why does it kiss?

They talk more,

and I start




But then someone is



The Policeman

is carrying me, and I

don’t like it.

I want

The Ice-Cream Man.

I start crying, and kicking.

The Ice-Cream Man


The Policeman

puts me into a car.

The car with the

red and blue lights.

The Ice-Cream Man




Lena Hartsough is a ninth grader at San Francisco Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, California.

Bright Side

By: Emily McKeon

For a fleeting moment, the hues of the sky appeared so brilliantly blue. Her spirit took on the color, willing it to chain itself to her emotions, hoping against all odds that this feeling of serenity would remain a foreigner no longer.
Contained within the orbs of a child, the soft waves cutting through the vastness of ocean, the wings of a jay flitting through the forsaken garden, the hue blazed with an intensity for a moment long enough to brand her forever a child of the sapphire.
Oh, how she longed to become a citizen of the light side of the spectrum. Farewell to the shadows; henceforth to the kingdom of solitude.
This pit, the one contained within her being, consumed all. She knew not of friendship nor the joy of laughter. She wept and she longed and she screamed; yet nothing appeared of the light to guide her by the wrist to the place of peace.
It was lonely and it was dark, but the times of brilliant blue would lift her higher, closer to the bright side.


Emily McKeon is a junior at Point Pleasant Borough High School in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.

Complete Silence

By: Justice Marshall

The smell of vanilla spice,
And the pencil in my hair.
The sound of that football game,
And my brown-eyed stare.

I wouldn’t have it any other way,
No, I wouldn’t care,
We were sitting in complete silence
But you’re over there.

I know my lips are always a pout,
And I might talk too much.
But it was that held moment,
You had me in your clutch.

I wouldn’t have it any other way,
I wouldn’t dare tell you such.
We were sitting in complete silence,
Inches away from touch.

Maybe it was your smirk,
It could be another thing.
It definitely wasn’t the way you mock me,
It would never be the way you sing.

I wouldn’t have it any other way,
None of your other habits to bring.
We were sitting in complete silence,
And onto you I cling.

When you finally turn off the tv,
I feel your eyes on me.
There’s this heat on my cheeks,
God..I hope you didn’t see.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There’s no where I’d rather be.
In complete silence your eyes meet mine,
Now you and I are we.


Justice Marshall is a 16 year old currently attending Westlake High School in Atlanta, Georgia.