(1ST PLACE from the Summer issue, as selected by our readers)
These two poems will be entered into the final selection process for
the Easterday Poetry Award, which will take place at the end of the school year.
($500 SCHOLARSHIP PRIZE)
Dust Mites for Baby
Someday, I hope to meet you and with discretion, your enduring chest pains.
From my gossiping mother’s words, I have scribbled biographies
on shadowed walls to discover you, each phrase guided with a careless
hand from Y to Z, eventually morphing into two hungry wombs,
two questions, both alive in a dream I do not dare to dream:
Do you know of sin-studded ironwork, does it know of you?
Inside relentless steel, thick lines staining the doors, lays a man, so I’ve heard,
a rotting sepulcher you might have seen once or twice, but you were too
young. The man loves his dust mites and his deteriorated, old things,
he wants to be fed a spoonful of ransom, too, and peering through
a little window, there are pay phones, pane and pain on either side,
staring took seconds, blinking took years. Those might’ve been
the eyes of an angel who exchanged ashen plumage for a jumpsuit.
In a way, it suits him, just like how a duct-taped mouth suits you.
These visions during extended daytime hours you are not allotted waste
ink and space, like that man your mother visits in jail on certain Tuesdays.
She calls him Baby. She calls you nothing. And maybe by dawn, she’ll come
to know who you are, but you weren’t noticed, so you painted trains in red
smears leaking from soggy lips and wondered where the droplets were begotten,
words with empty hands like a prophet who has never seen God, but will someday.
Yuxi Liu, OH, Solon High School
($100 Scholarship Prize)
En Ingles, "Broken Fruit of the Loom
Orange’s broken membranes release her acidic, citrus tears.
a face, like a pomegranate, corrupted by white and digging fingers.
Corrupted by fingers that tear out her fleshy seeds.
Fingers that dig out her burning cheeks, that wring out her heart’s pulp.
Girl who cries the skins of oranges, and no real tears, you are judged.
Beauty who is the citrus fruit of California, I know where you are from.
Latin female, Latin girl whose braids smell of broken membrane—
your origins are spelled out on your face.
You, Spanish citrus girl, are dug out of the earth.
And the earth is dug deep out of your face.
Rinds and peels become you.
A broken heart becomes you.
Beauty—Latina—even bloody sweat becomes you.
You are the sweat of blood oranges.
Pretty girl, broken girl—you’re novel even where you’re from.
But specialness becomes you—burning thing that grew in an orchard.
Thing that might be living.
Kristan Saint-Preux, DC, Eastern Senior High School
ALL OTHER NATIONAL WINNERS
Lost Aliyah - Jacob Boyd Bellinger, FL, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts
Ophelia - Sona Sulakian, CA, The HarkerSchool
Dandelions - Sade Beasley, OR, Benson Polytechnic High School
Embroidered Seldom - Beni Ransom, WA, Ballard High School
Archer of the Oppressed: Arise - Ashley Schultz, CA, Ghidotti Early College HS
For Truth's Amusement - Cindy Zou, VA, Jefferson HS for Science and Technology
Abyss - Emma Biegacki, NY, Professional Performing Arts School
Emmett Till Prologue - Muna Saber, IL, Argo Community High School
A Walk in a Fading Forest - Zachary Herzog, WA, Woodinville High School
Love is a Flame- Caitlin Gossett, TN, Fairview High School
Changes Ahead - Soubhik Barari, MA, Acton-Roxborough Regional HS
The Birds Who Thought They'd Overcome it All - Forester McClatchey, GA, The Westminster School
An Ode to Caesar on the Ides of March - Daniel Thompson, IL, Neuqua Valley HS
Fix This - Joyce Squillante, MI, Forest Hills Central High
Giving Birth - Martin Conte, ME, George Stevens Academy
Homicidal Marriage - Jenny Ahn, NY, The Spence School
the findings in sidewalks - Shae James, FL, Dreyfoos School of the Arts
Gaylord, MI, 12:00 AM - Erika Nester, MI, Homeschool
The Degradation - Mary Sun, VA, Jefferson HS for Science and Technology
Barefoot - Evan Katz, MA, Hopkinton High School
Apropos of Nothing - Aleksandra Kus, NY, Townsend Harris High School
Omerta - Kyle Howard, VA, Sherando High School
Mysterious Skin - Linda Liang, MI, International Academy East
hiding - Priya Kamdar, NJ, Union County Magnet High School
When Death spits in your detergent... - Andrew Kim, CA, Ruben S. Ayala HS
The Serpentine Confession - Dan Dong-Hyuk Kim, NJ, Blair Academy
A Past of Regrets - Katherine Huang, NJ, Princeton High School
For Conor and Megan - Allison Shultes, NY, Lake Placid High School
Beneath the Quiet Blackness of the Night - Madeleine St. John, WA, Seattle Christian Schools
Wings and Shrill - Shannon Cates, MD, Kent Island High School