Winner: Grades 10-12
by Suzanne Xu
Richard Montgomery High School
A jagged line disrupts the monitor,
A plea for life before her eyes roll white.
The room swells up with cries that mix and blur
And sluggishly drift down as she takes flight
To flee the deadened space. Her limbs must too
Remain behind, their shape too weak to clutch
A mind long gone into the blooming blue
Where rust red swings that creaked from touch
Had never whispered with her weight. She sits
To hold the piney chips, the scent revived
By summer drops. An ant among the bits
Crawls up to greet the day as light arrives.
The mended child leans in, her eyes set wide,
‘So this is what it means to be alive.’
Runner-Up: Grades 10-12
The Voice In The Lake
by Amanda Hayes
H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program
I see you foolish souls will not desist.
What spurs you on to probe this muddy spray?
To chase the cloudy curvatures that twist
and flounder, shift and slip away?
You’ll find within these waters nothing clean
—no iridescent, shapely scales gleam—
just grimy eels tangled in between
some gristly, gruesome reproductive scheme.
What role to play, if your daft luck prevails?
The hapless butcher whose uncertain hand
cleaves tender meat, mistakes it for entrails,
leaves vibrant muscles desiccated, bland?
Or do you dare unlatch that swampy cage
within the flimsy borders of a page?