2013 Teen Poetry Contest Winning Poems

High School Division (Grades 9-12)

1st Place: "the smell of rain is delicious" by Wendy Lee
I
   am no city nor country mouse
sweet, sweet suburbia comes to
me
packaged with miniscule s q u a r e s of garden
shh shh silent graveyards
hushed inhabitants made of sticks
but no stones

black
white gray
black
white gray
a precisely perpendicular mess
an occasional pop of color greets the eye
soon to be weighed down by the starless blackness of night
a styrofoam cup spilling over with
fake flamingos flying through the green

the streets echo with my steps
tip
tip
thump
I hear shush, shush, shhhhh

the only sound comes from the wind
kissing each pile of leaves
febreze pomegranate red
post-it-note yellow found in her unused copy of The Great Gatsby
the orange of pushed, pursed lips on john’s #98 jersey
oh-so-neatly cleared from sight

he rakes every stray leaf from the street
every Sunday night.    

 

 


 

2nd Place: "Lemons" by Evangeline Reid

Lemons
When we were kids, she’d
reach up for the counter and i,
being older and taller, would
peer over the edge
and find the lemons,
nestled safely between the straws and
the napkins.

Using the tongs, just as I should,
I’d lift two yellow slices from
the bucket—
one for me and one for her.

Her little hands would grasp the
sticky dripping slice and
bite into it. I’d do the same,
cocky in my older sister ways, but
every time, she’d squeal at the sting,
giggle and ask for more, while
my eyes watered and
I swore them off for sure.

Alice has always been braver
than me

So it’s a funny thing now—that
some days I call myself
stronger because I’ve learned
to bear the sour and
find the good—when

I learned it all from her.

 



 

3rd Place: "Family Communication" by Eleanor Buettner
I hear the words he says
but they are a foreign language,
I understand a few words
but not their meaning
I do not know what he says
Though he says it loud and clear
I try to understand, but to no use
There is no dictionary for what he is trying to say.

Like two old radios the static interfering and ruining our conversation

A cat and dog cannot talk, so instead we fight

The voice rises and repeats
every lecture rises and repeats
it only knows how to rise and repeat

A comment, a look, a lie, the truth,
will set him ablaze
Since I have heard this all before, I drift into my private Wonderland
There’s no reasoning,
the only thing that will satisfy it is
a nod of the head,
and a silent mouth.

 

 



 

Honorable Mention: "Backwards Up" by Nysha Chen
They ended without a clash, it was a battle they
Both could not win, so they let the
Grey floor absorb the
Color of their
World

There was lightning the other day, it quenched their
Summer morning and brought them
Forward to mid-October
It was too
late
                                                      
They were like a carousel ride; derived from fantasies
marble Byzantine horses strung adorned
in carmine red laces and
diamonded
strings

Her eyes were of constellations and he mapped out his
conquest the moment he met her and her
smile was the sky ; what held
his world together
forever

He turned her heart into a fragile paper butterfly
And painted her world in blazing wildfires
Igniting a moment she wanted
to treasure like a rose:
infinitely

They were introduced on a Saturday evening
He said he liked peach ice cream
Did he really? She smiled
Eyes wide, And said
so do
I

Sometimes if you want a happy ending all you have
to do is change your perspective and
and read the story
backwards
up