Last night we hosted our second annual WDM Writes Poetry Night, and it was a lovely event! Congratulations to all the winners, whose entries are published below.

 

Alice Roos (K-3): “H3N2”

This winter there is a flu

We just don’t know what to do

People can die

This is not a myth or a lie

It feels like bricks are thrown at you

And this is the terrible flu

 

David Dehner (K-3): “Cat for a Day”

Lying in my bed on Saturday morning,

I look over and see my cat Penny yawning.

She jumped up on the window,

And stared out at the snow.

Then she played on the floor,

And fell asleep by the door.

Mom comes in to wake me up,

Then says remember you have to feed the pup!

At breakfast dad says, complete your math

And then go take a long long bath!

Before I know, it’s already noon.

Oh no! I missed my morning cartoon!

Then I jumped up and yelled “NO WAY! I JUST WANT TO BE A CAT TODAY!”

I run back to my room and fall asleep.

I begin to dream of all things I find sweet:

Soccer, Basketball and football

Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and all.

Great-Grandma’s house and playing in the water

Beyblades, Pokémon and even Harry Potter!

Ooey gooey mac and cheese,

The hugs mom and dad give me when I sneeze!

Riding my bike on a warm summer day

And going to my best friend’s house to play.

I open my eyes, Penny is eating her food.

She eats the same old kibble every day to be in a good mood!

A few minutes of play and then another nap

When you are a cat it is boring and pretty much that.

I cannot believe what a fuss I made,

All I want is to be a kid in the second grade!

 

Celeste Brown (K-3): 

I have a grumble in my tummy.

Is it the pickle I ate. Is there a tiger

in my tummy. Maybe I’m just hungry.

 

Satya Iyer (4-6): “Snow”

Snow is comforting

Snow is delicate and fierce

Snow lights up the night

 

Adelyn Porter (4-6): “The City”

The city is full of loud sounds like

Cars honking

babies screaming

cats wrouing

dogs barking whouf whouf

people talking

store door bells ringing

phones buzzing

cars zooming by

people whisleing

police whisles screeching

car doors slamming

 

Lily Dahlen (4-6): “Swimming”

In the cool swimming pool

On a warm summers day

in the warm afternoon

water splashing

swimmers panting

coachs yelling

bright colored towels

wet swimmingsuits

bright colorful goggles

racing friends

swimming laps

and the chill that runs down your spine

I will be there again tomorrow afternoon

and I will be peaceful yet again

 

Kauai Cua (7-8): “Potential”

Butterflies flutter with delicacy like the hands of my foes,

But my hands are calloused, with the glamour of a crow.

I was told if I try then I’ll flourish like an elegant flower,

But dedication’s nothing with my competition leaning atop towers.

“Enjoy the beauty around you!” they say,

But every part of nature’s another bad part of my day.

If only the sunset did not seem so dull,

Because another day’s gone and wasted time takes a toll.

And time ticks on at its own rate too fast-

While I ignore it, brooding over the future and the past.

What am I but the end of a beginning,

And a sighing it succumbed to obsession with winning?

My arm extends toward that so far from my grasp,

But I know that at best I’ll have a slowly slipping clasp.

And though success is nothing but a faraway dream,

I know I’ll work to death trying not to get lost in the stream.

 

Reagan Mann (7-8): “Surreal”

I haven’t felt like this before.

It’s strange, it’s odd. I have no words.

Why, would I act,

Like this.

I, can’t put my feelings into perspective, I can’t be empathetic over just a little thing.

My words are at my worst.

They sit at my side like limp arms struggling to grasp a coffee mug.

Just so I can have a sip of dignity.

The cup, is empty.

I stumble through my brain because there’s nowhere else to be.

I don’t want to disrupt the peace, it’s too solemn to notice a soul like mine.

I just drift through the wind, shivering from the cold the world gives me,

But it’s not their fault,

Because that’s all I ever asked for.

You don’t have to see me, I’m too indifferent to care, right?

Isn’t that how that works?

I find my thinking is so far off the the path that I see so many taking,

It’s comforting, but eerily draining. Why can’t I just be?

As if the pool of being that sits inside me doesn’t want to hear the reason of sense, instead it cares only of the illogical dreams of pain.

What if I could just be in the moment so that I’ll be there with you, for you, while I have you and without you while I don’t?

But instead I wish for confinement from the love you try to reach out and give me.

It’s surreal really.

No.

What’s surreal is when you go into a crowded hall,

But feel more alone than when you’re by yourself in your room reading a book

In complete and utter silence.

Rather than the roaring laughter that every move of a muscle brings,

Which is all the time, isn’t it?

You’re always thinking.

And that itself is exercising a muscle.

Is this the mind I’ve been gifted with?

Is this senescence my sentence?

Or is this the glob of muscle floating around in a skull

Telling lifeless arms to get up,

Commanding fingers so still you’d think they’d be from an oil painting,

Telling them to communicate everything it’s ever conceived within its blobish walls,

At the very instant it thought it up?

Now that,

Is that the surreal you keep thinking of?

 

Abby Bishop (9): 

The morning dawn is fuchsia

And I its humble slave

I perch on faded stones

To hear the murmurs of the waves

Your face does come to mind

Frozen in a golden time

With a laugh upon your lips

And your eyes like silver dimes

I am reminded of my wings

Which painted cities blue

That brushed along the mountains

That held my heart close, too

They were your loving “gift”

To a girl once naive and mine

Who loved her wings so ardently

Until your greedy crime

Her wings let her escape

Your controlling clutch

And you saw with fervent terror

She was out of touch

And I that emboldened girl

Who loved her wings and you

Whose wings were stolen back

Right on your harsh cue

And so you took my heart

You took my freedom, my escape

You promised you could fix it

With some grimy, old scotch tape

I thought that you had won

With your cruel monster craft

And your taunting monster smug

But you forgot my laugh

I still had my laugh

Silly as it was

And I still had my smile

If only just because

My tears were also there

My brain still functioning

And I still had my voice

With which I used to sing

And so I fought with passion

I fought with much too gain

To win back my freedom

In exchange for all the pain

You are now a memory

Distant on the shelf

And I am now the girl

Who belongs to herself

The waves rise and fall now

Green and blue they bring

And if I look closely

I can almost see my wings

 

Vidya Iyer (9): “They Say”

Why do I need to try so hard,

Why do I need to die inside,

Why do I need to crumble like overdone pastry

In order to be like they want me to

Life isn’t fair, they say, you need to try harder

Suck it up and get it done

Stress gives me third degree burns across my insides, eating me alive as I strive to arrive at your expectations

You’re not good enough, they imply

Be better than you are

Follow your dreams

Reach for the sky, they say, reach for the stars

But when I finally reach edge of the atmosphere, they move the finish line

I try and I try, and every time it isn’t enough

If I made it to the stars, I would burn my hands

If I made it to the sky, I would freeze to death

So I run away from them

Run like hell is at my heels, burning the land as I cross it

Hell is burning my body, like a martyr, flaming, tied to post while being eaten alive by that small, warm comfort she had thought was a blessing

This time, the homey, smoky smell of charred meat is her own legs

My legs are columns of pain crying out for me to stop

But I like the pain

The pain takes my mind off of the million other things I should be worrying about

Worrying about why teenage girls can be so cruel without saying a single word

Worrying who I will be ten years from now, rich or poor, smart or dumb, dead or alive

Worrying about how I have to study for my tests on blind acceptance and conformity when I want to be the exception, the example, the unique one

But they won’t let me

Everything is tied like a ball of yarn, not one string is alone

Everything is touching something else

You can only run for so long, so I have to eventually go back

Go back to the place where I don’t want to stay, but where my heart and soul lay

Ironically, this place is not my home

They say, do your best

They know my best will never be good enough

Not good enough to be who I want to be, not good enough to be the person they tell me to be

So settle for less, they say, maybe you’ll at least make it somewhere

I’m trying to climb the tree they ask me to climb

I’m trying to fill the void they ask me to fill

So why can’t they just tell me that I am good enough

Have you heard that story of the men in the cave

They are chained in front of a roaring fire, unable to leave

All they see are literal shadows of the outside world

People live, people die, and they see only silhouettes

Then one brave soul decided to leave his chains behind

But once he told his people what he had seen from the alien world he had escaped to

They beat him to death for being insane

My brave soul wants to escape its chains, but unlike the man, I know how the story ends

I can’t leave, for if I do and I tell my people what I have seen

I will get beaten to death for being insane

So I don’t escape because I am too afraid of the unknown

Too afraid to actually win the race, because if I did, what would happen?

Follow your dreams

Reach for the sky, they say, reach for the stars

But when I get to the edge of the atmosphere, they aren’t moving the finish line

I am

If I made it to the stars, I would burn my hands

If I made it to the sky, I would freeze to death

 

Manar Yaseen (10-12): “The Mountain in Heaven and the Hell Beneath”

As you stand there on the highest mountain

Basking in the view of the world beneath you

What do you see?

Your eyes only grasps at its beauty.

You see animals interact and strive to survive,

Your eyes take in the changing colors of the trees,

And let’s not forget the sparkling snow

That seems to reflect so much light.

As you stand there on the mountain

What do you hear?

You hear the music of the wind howling in your ear,

And the drums of the rain pounding against the ground,

And the beautiful voice of all the life around you that

Never ceases to sing.

As you stand there on the highest mountain

Basking in the view of the world beneath you

Do you hear their screams?

Screams so loud they pierce through deaf ears

And shatter hearts of stone.

As you stand there on the highest mountain

Do you see the river of blood that they bleed,

The dark red river drowning everything white and green?

As you stand there on the mountain

Is the air that you breathe

Tainted with ashes of death?

As you stand high on your mountain of gold,

Do you not hear the rumbling stomachs of children

Who cannot find anything to eat?

As you stand on your mountain of missiles,

Proud with insanity,

Do you not see that they have suffered enough?

As you stand there on the mountain

Drunk on you success,

Do you not hear the cries of the men, women and children,

Who are oppressed?

As you stand there behind the statue of liberty,

Do you not wish to share the freedom

In which your country

Has always stressed?

As you stand there on the highest mountain

Are you crying over your homeland’s

Last breath?

Has your home ever been ripped away

From your bloodied grasps

And when you fought to take it back

You get a taste of death?

As you stand there on the highest mountain

Basking in the view of the world beneath you

You don’t care

Do you?

Because it is not your home that’s being destroyed,

It is not your child buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings,

It is not your mother trying to soothe her child

As they die in her arms,

It is not your education damned by missiles to oblivion,

It is not your hospitals that can no longer stand

To save lives.

But it’s mine

It is my home and

No matter how hard they try

To tear it down

I will persevere

It is our home.

They are our children buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings,

They are our parents trying to soothe us

As we take our last breath,

It is our education damned to oblivion,

It is our hospitals that can no longer stand

To save lives

They say that once you’ve climbed up your mountain

All the way to its peak

Your eyes turn blind to the world beneath

So let’s climb down our mountains

And all gather at the valley beneath

Now do you hear their piercing screams?

No do you see the dark red river streams?

Are the ashes making it difficult for you to breath?

Can you bear the heat of the hell beneath?

 

Alana Scherer (10-12): “Video Game Girl”

Dangling from my wrist the slick controller swings

My fingers cramp as I grip it for what must be the thousandth time today

“I’m back, Bro,” I tell my brother as I slide into the me-shaped imprint

in the office chair and cocoon myself in blankets

waiting just as I’d left them

My fingers fly as I whip my character around the screen

Knocking out enemy after enemy in a frenzy

to protect my brother

We scream as we hit the boss for the last time

Chant the pathetic music as he dies

I know I am not a video game girl

As soon as school starts I will swap this screen for a smaller one

Full of essays

Not enemies

I am not a video game girl

but I am a sister

and today

that’s the same thing.

 

Mekhia Hillgren (10-12): “I miss you”

I miss you like a rainy day

Damp and dreary

Clammy on my nose

Dripping down to drown my collarbone

I miss you like a sandstorm

Sharp and biting

Grating at my skin

Conspiring foully to strip me of myself

I miss you like a fault line

Rigid and deep

Nullifying my nerves

Slashing straight down through my quaking body

I miss you like a lightning bolt

Bright and scalding

Snapping at the sky

Shattering my core of sadness so inescapable

I miss you like a thunderclap

Loud and sudden

Wracking my heart

Rumbling menacingly through the confines of my chest

I miss you like a river rapid

Flush and fast

Rushing through my veins

Slamming my body against unforgiving shards

Of rock

I miss you like a volcano

Molten and volatile

Erupting from my throat

Screaming doubts and second guesses into the vacancy of

My love

I miss you like a birdsong

Cheerful and sweet

Lifting my hopes

Filling my heart with unadulterated joy

I miss you like a whale call

Sonorous and secret

Slipping into the reserved space in my heart

Winding through my buoyant limbs and salty hair

I miss you like a girl

Wild and retreating

Shrieking into the memory of your arms

Knowing she was gone but could never tear herself away

 

Kristin Daniel-Woodvine (Adult): “He Sleeps on My Chest”

His heartbeat trembles through his flesh and bone into mine,

rhythmic aftershocks, measurable since long before he was separate from me

His milk drool pools on and is rewarmed by my skin;

he’s baptized me in his name and I do worship him

His face will wear the imprint of the strap and clasp of my nursing bra,

if I ever move him to his crib,

and his beautiful, smooth cheek will be impermanently tattooed red by being pressed against me,

red as his newborn face

His heat rolls down my limbs to fingertips and toes and we sweat and he sleeps,

his knee twitching mischievously against my misshapen belly button,

just as he kicked and rolled against the inside of my skin while in my womb

His lyrical exhalations and baby snores reach my ears, the feathery exhalations alert my skin,

and I track his slumber through the pattern of his breathing

His sleep deepens, fleecy jammies, innocence, and his momma’s arms his shield;

he is protected while he sleeps on my chest

His being is a wonder to me, how he became from me and we now together are;

he is my peace, my fear, my love, my baby

 

Aaron Jameson (Adult): “Winter Light at Dawn”

Faint
But felt and seen,
A crawling warmth,
The Day pulls back
The darkened quilts of Night.

Emerging, yet not.

Dar la luz,
Another born,
Unique in beauty,
An ocean’s fill of
Hues: pink and orange and white.

All the same, yet not.

This one held me
(Or I him) —
A groom entranced —
As when a strong
Man wins the race (or fight)
His win is felt and shared.

Unannounced, yet not.

This runner shouts
And sings his way
In color more than song,
But few can see, and
Fewer hear the
Light.

 

William Bortz (Adult): 

-exhausted

in a moment of vulnerability

I bite my cheek and taste metal

I give my body into the cool breast of night

and what miraculous things

it does to the starlight

buried in my dark. the sky

weeps while no one watches

morning is painted with streaks of red

stretched lazily towards the edge of the horizon

it is tired – and like us it

has avoided pouring

out into some poor soul’s lap

I see this and wonder who could

ever want to pierce me? to create

a hole – a sleeve to put an arm through

and I am reminded how some

have such a vast reservoir of hate

it could contain the whole

unfragmented sky. God – I am exhausted

from reading memorials

from keeping my head above

the surface of some unfamiliar

sea of grief. what a strange pain

to feel your lungs expand

close to bursting

with the air of someone’s

last breath. if we lit candles

for every person who heard a pop

in place of a goodbye

and tasted gunpowder on

their teeth in place of their

lover’s lips the sun would

blush. oh how red it would

become at the sight of how

small it truly is. in light

of the light that has been

taken in light of the light

it couldn’t lend to replace and

fill each darkened space. I am

moved – profoundly by how much

some people’s arms can hold

by how many crumbling

bodies they can keep together

at once and, as the sky, remain

strong until it is safe

to press into the chest of twilight

and empty themselves

 

Amber Horsman (Adult): “Who”

I went into the library to see who I would be
For in the reading of a story your soul can be set free
Perhaps I would be fearless and love the man I met
Like Isolde, Cleopatra, Christine, or Juliet
I could set sail – see the world or bow before strange thrones
I could wield magic or search the skies to learn we’re not alone
I weep at death and tragedy as I lay friends in the grave
I shout and plunge to battle that others I might save
I lay and breathe the spices of a Midsummer’s Night Dream
The beautiful music notes remind me not all is as it seems
For these are lives that others lived and I must live my own
I will set my own course. I will define my own tone
I had walked into the library to see who I would be
But in truth the greatest freedom is choosing to be me