Day 4

Smart Kid
by Mandy Berry

Bs are above average?
Tell that to my friends
The ones who constantly complain
About getting a 90
While I scramble for an 80
And I still remember the security
Knowing that
I could complain about As
Because I was one of those other kids once
Straight As and a head on straight
Once upon a time
In middle school
But no more
Imagine what it’s like
To see other people
In your niche
As you become a wayward shell
Of the person you used to be
The person that everyone knows


Two Little Girls
by S.A.Bowden

I spent some time in the café alone
After my sister left
Sat by myself writing until about 9:40
Then I packed up and started walking back to church
I wanted to get there early and pray about my college acceptances
The impending difficult decision.
I passed a woman on the steps to her row home
And two little girls
Drawing on the sidewalk with chalk
One wore a teal Elsa dress.
I remembered I was a little girl like them once
Wearing princess dresses and drawing with chalk.
That was before I outgrew the dresses
And didn’t have time for chalk drawing
Before I met kids and adults who were mean and taught me silence
Before people and pets I loved died
Before I learned about puberty and how babies are made
Before I stopped wishing on stars and birthday candles
Before I learned not all stories have happy endings
And the bad guy sometimes wins
Before I learned kids aren’t supposed to cry in school
Before I abandoned Barbie and Boxcar Children for ghost stories and violent TV shows
Before I moved to the wild city of Baltimore
With homeless people and shootings and overdoses
Before I saw with my own eyes things I thought long gone
Before I heard people like me being called racist, sexist, bigot, White Trash
Before I learned some people will strike you down if you disagree
Before school wasn’t so fun anymore
Before perfect betrayed me with doubts, insecurities, questioning of my identity
Before I was told fairies and Santa aren’t real
Before the phone call and that question Where are you?
Before I thought about rock bottom
Before I was hurt by people I care about, and they got hurt worse
Before I realized how perilous and uncaring the world is

How precarious my life is
Before I started wondering how I’d ever be okay
Before before before. . .

Stay young, little girls.

Dear God,
Do You remember the girl I used to be?
Can You still see her somewhere inside me?




by Dashawn Gardner

Opened my eyes,
Still, can’t see.

Wish I could fly,
Still no wings.

Desires never fulfilled,
Hopes and dreams always killed.

Roaming the world in a cloud of doubt,
Wondering what even is this life all about.

Why does everything feel paused?
Why do I feel stuck in time?

What is the cause?
Did I commit the crime?

Walking alone,
Like I can’t find my home.

I feel empty,
Won’t someone save me?

This darkness is always here,
Always clouding.

Thoughts are never clear,
Always crowding.

I sit and think about the past,
And the things I did.

I can’t escape my feelings because they’re too fast,
All of this darkness is something I dread.

Why is it rare that I smile?
Why do I force the happiness?

Why do I feel so vile?
Why do I continue to sink into the madness?

Maybe I’m exaggerating,
Maybe I’m overthinking.

Maybe I should stop the self-hating,
These feelings are all just sickening.

What do I do now?
I truly don’t know.

With my success, I don’t see the how,
I don’t know where my thoughts and I should go.


Black and Red
by Mya Smith mya 4.jpgI would rather be red than black.
For black is the cold, brittle darkness
And red is the warm, welcoming sunlight.
Red is a blooming rose that has just
Sprung from a seed in the ground.
Black is the dirt in which the rose sprung,
Left behind, underrated, and forgotten.
Red is the color of the blood oozing from my body,
But black is the color it turns when it dries out.


by Sam Yoseph

As raindrops fall onto your face,
I keep staring and find myself just waiting
for you to notice me.

I’ve been here, always by your side.
I’ll never be fully human
Until you hold me in your arms and tell me I’m real.

I know I’m broken.

I don’t get your jokes or any of your references.
I can never seem to tell if you are being serious.

When you say you’re worthless,
I promise you aren’t.
As long as you’re here, I can find myself in you.

I can breathe and laugh easy.

You have a family back home and a family here.
We’re fighting this together.
You are not alone.
You are not unnecessary.

You are the heart of this team,
Always keeping us sane and on our toes.

And you always seem to know how to make an entire world
Just disappear from my eyes
When you’re there.

Please don’t go.
We’re here.
I’m here.

I love you.


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