Memorial Hall Library

Teen Poetry Contest 2020 Winners and Honorees

We are happy to announce and present our winners and honorees for this year's Teen Poetry Contest! It's been a long road to get here this year and we appreciate everyone's patience with our COVID-19 related delays in getting our results. We'd like to thank all who entered this year and our judge Gayle Heney! It's shame that we can't celebrate with all of our amazing teen poets in person and hear their words, but please take time to read our winners below.

We also asked interested teen poets to send recordings of themselves reading their work. If the title of the poem is a link, you can click on it to hear the poem read by the author.


Middle School Honorees (presented alphabetically by last name)

Home away from Home by Spencer Belson, Doherty Middle School
The cool, crisp September night
reminded me exactly
why I wanted to come here.
Not a noise
but that of a solitary loon
floating through
the Maine lake
I started along the path,
lined with lichens and young hemlock
to the ancient wooden bench
overlooking the waveless water.

The night sky
ablaze with the light of thousands of stars
struck awe
in my aching heart.
For I knew
that I couldn’t stay forever
that tomorrow
would be the final night.

Back home
in Massachusetts
I saw nothing
like this perfect picture
painted across the night sky.
The stars
like pinholes
through the veil of darkness
shone a hundred times brighter
than the flashlight
grasped tight in the palm of my hand.

I don’t want to leave
the paradise
of my namesake lake.
The sanctuary
along the shores
of Spencer
plant a seed of Maine
in my melting
And I will never forget
the memories of my favorite place
in the mountains

of Maine.

Until it’s all gone by Vedantika Bose, West Middle School

Dig deep into your mind
What do you see?
What do you hear?
The events of the day float through your mind.
You see yourself with your friends,
Laughing about a joke while eating lunch
The scene blurs and changes.
You see yourself talking to a teacher,
Yet you can’t quite see her face.
You can make out some of the words she is saying, but not all.
Suddenly, from the distance you hear a call
You turn around to the direction of the voice.
Instead of a school hallway, you see a meadow.
It is  a sunny day
With a clear sky, birds chirping, flowers blooming, grasses growing
You feel the gentle breeze against your skin,
And see your teacher no more.
Instead, you hear a voice, a familiar one,
Out into the distance.
You run toward the direction of the voice,
Down a flat hill.
You can see and hear her.
Your mother.
Her arms are spread out, face shining, with a smile on her face.
You run towards her and try to hug her, but you feel nothing.
You only feel a slight breeze against your palm
She fades away, her arms spread out, face shining, with a smile on her face, Until there is no trace of her left.
Now, you feel something tugging at you.
You feel as if the ground is sucking you from within.
You try to cry out but no sound is heard from your mouth. 

You look around and see only blackness,
With not a single trace or drop of light.
It is pitch black and the only voice you hear,
Is the voice hidden deep within the shadows.
You tremble in fear as you remember every dreadful moment of your life.
Like the time when you hid under the bed, trying not to make a noise,
As the stranger opened the door
Your hands were over your mouth as you tried not to scream,
As the dark shadowy figure entered inside the room.
Your hands were sweaty.
You did not breathe, you did not move,
And came out of hiding only when he was gone. 

Suddenly, you feel something pull you up,
Out of the darkness.
You open your eyes but close them shut.
The light is blinding you.
You sit up panting and gasping, trying to ponder on what just happened.
But try as you may, you recollect nothing
As you go about your day. 


Red Stained Reflection by Anat Briskin, Doherty Middle School

I stare at my hands
Stained a gruesome red by the
Dripping blood
That pools at my feet
My reflection staring back at me
Rusting knife visible
Through layers of clothing
A jagged edge of mirror
Falls apart in my grasp
But I can no longer feel the pain
Numbed by the shock
Of losing it
All of it
The countless hours spent
More and more until I thought I could get what I wanted
But the hunger seemed to grow
Never satiated
Never satisfied
Until my last breath
Fogging the mist
I couldn’t see what I had
Only feel what I lost
The countless skills I earned
Through countless sacrifices
Never prepared me for this
For the crippling remorse
Paralyzed from the sorrow
Yet I regret the pain
Not the actions
If I could go back
I would do it all over again
All the gore
The blood
The pain in their eyes
The horror
I would do it all again
But not this

Never this


Summer Sunsets by Kailey Hamilton, Doherty Middle School

The beach is an abandoned town
Only occupants consist of
Small clusters of seagulls

The sun is not yet set
But is getting ready to say goodbye for the night

I scurry down the ramp turning everything surrounding
Into a blurry haze

As I step onto the sand
My feet sink down into a pit of unknown
Soft silky sand rubs across my feet as I walk

I clasp my surfboard in between my arms
Dashing down to where the water starts to get deep
I place my board down and lay on top of it
Wax on the board sticks to my skin like glue on paper

I start to paddle to where the waves are crashing
Each one falling down
In perfect rhythm
Creating a beat
That I paddle along to 

The sea surged with laughter
Sending a chorus of voices
To the heart of the listening earth

Then in the distance I see it
A wave

But not just any wave
The perfect wave
6 feet of pure shimmering water

I rush to catch it
Turning my board around
Preparing myself for an ocean of water
To collapse on top of me

It hits the back of my board and I fly forward with tons of momentum
I carefully stand up

The cool ocean breeze flying through my hair and hitting my face
I feel free
No worrying about school, friends, or drama
All i worry about is staying on the board for as long as I can

As the board skims the water I can see the sun finally setting
I can see it waving goodbye to me in the skyline
Wishing me farewell until tomorrow 


Quadrant 1: A Complaint to the Police by Sharayu Josh, Wood Hill Middle School

I’m sorry for bothering you,
but it’s serious-
Let me get to the point:
Nine ate seven
after seven taunted nine
For not being prime.

Nine said to seven:
“I’m greater than you!”
And then ate him,
Just to make it true.
49 got mad-
9 ate his square root!
But he couldn’t do anything,
because 9’s a part of him, too.

9 is jealous,
I can tell you
He doesn’t always play fair
A rather odd number,
Even if he’s a square 

Now that 7’s gone,
And 9 has on a permanent smirk,
I'll have to tell the teacher
That 9 ate 7,
Not the other way around,
And I can’t pass in homework
Until another number is found.


Insecurities by Katerina Kokkotos, Pike School

Never believe a mirror.
For a mirror always lies.
It makes you think that is all your worth,
Whatever can be seen on the outside.

Never believe a mirror.
It’s like a monster.
A monster that is slowly tearing you apart.
A monster telling you to be someone else.
Someone greater.

Never believe a mirror.
It doesn’t show what the rest of the world sees.
The beauty hidden inside,
Waiting to be seen. 

Never believe a mirror.
It only shows your skin color.
Something that can discriminate.
If you think that it dictates your worth,
You must start to look within.


Gray by Hannah Lehmann, Doherty Middle School
Everything Gray
When the ashes fall
In a thunderstorm of char
Scattered across the universe
With a windfall
A whisper
Of wind meant
To carry the secrets of love
Now bearing destruction and Gray sorrow
The world
Such wind
Intended for greatness
But now solely there
To bring hopelessness and
Gray despair throughout
Carrying guilt and grief
Whirling clouds and shadows
of darkness and misery
Blowing amidst the
Gray wind
sharing regret
But if a rainbow appears
After rain
There will be a double rainbow
After a
Then perhaps


Beauty by Fiona Veletzos, Doherty Middle School

The song of the birds,
the green of the grass,
the blue of the sky,
they speak to me.

The beauty of nature,
the - nope.
This too sappy.

gentle and calm,
powerful and strong.
Deep sea blue or
clear as glass.
Flowing over rocks,
a bubbling brook
running between the 

towering oaks or
tiny saplings
reaching for the
filtering through the leaves
turning them glowing green
and dust motes dancing,
down to the forest floor.
tiny shoots
grow fat and green
then red, golden, brown
and lying on the ground.
Or tiny, sharp,
pine needles
the only color 
in winter.
Stark against the cold white

dancing, drifting,
down, down, down
to settle everywhere.
Covering the world
in a soft, white blanket.
Transforming it into
a wonderland,
while you stay inside
nice and warm
seated by the

Flames flickering
always moving.
Red and orange and yellow and blue.
Burning brightly
down to embers
glowing with a soft bright light,

like the Moon
full and silver
suspended in the sky.
Surrounded by stars
her handmaidens
just pinpricks in the dark.
Gazing down 
down to the Earth
full of sleeping

tall and short,
big and small,
of every race and color.
We are part of the world
and the world is part of us.

There is beauty
in everything.


Blue by Grace Wang, Doherty Middle School

Leaning on the 

stood a young girl
in her pale


Around her fluttered 
the soft 


She gazed longingly
at the cool 


into the splashing waves
that invited her out 

but she was supposed to be 

Not Yet Spring by Grace Wang, Doherty Middle School

Leaving behind the bitter winter        
Spring settled in all around.
Although rare spots of snow 
still speckled the scenery.
Days were getting warmer,
whirling winds became less harsh,
and filled with warmth.
Birds would soon be returning. 
Singing their unique tunes.
That would fade
into the soft blue skies overhead.

On a day like this,
I came alive with life.
Born in a pale white room.
My chocolate brown orbs staring back
at mom’s gentle eyes.

I was supposed to be Catherine,
but it just didn’t work out that way 
I suppose.

Two identities, 
Two homes, 
Two names, 
growing up I had both.
My mom, my dad, and I
were half a world apart.

I had my grandparents as parents.
Until the spring I became
3 years old. 
My life turned upside down. 
Moving into a new country 
known as the United States. 
Meeting new people
known as my parents.

But finally I’ve found myself settled
In a place we now call home. 
Now I've grown into a young woman 
with ebony black hair, 
as dark as the midnight sky.
And curious wide eyes 
always seeming to whirl with confusion.

Recently i’ve developed a rather unusual passion 
for drinking almond milk 
and spending hours
immersed in the world of music. 

Everyday is like ctrl-c, ctrl-v.
Nothing really interesting happens.
Sometimes I yearn for a change,
but at other times it's comforting
knowing what comes next.

Now like a cycle,
Once again, 





Middle School Winners

3rd Place: You are trapped in a timeless warp by Vedantika Bose, West Middle School

You use your mind,
You move your pencil, 
Rushing through the problems.
Because when the teacher says, 
“Time is up!
You must hand in your papers!”
There is no choice.
No choice at all.

It seems like an hour,  
Or maybe even more.
You might get another chance,
But you can’t be sure. 
You are trapped in a timeless warp,
Which never seems to end.
Time is up. 
You hand in your paper, 
And see the time.
It’s been 30 minutes, 
But it felt like forever.

You go to your friend’s house,
Excited to play. 
It has been forever,
Since you have met her. 
You walk in, 
And play a lot of games.
Before you know it, you hear a ring.
It’s your mom. 
She wants you to come back.
You think, “It has only been  a few minutes.”
But it really is an hour.
You are trapped in a timeless warp,
Which never seems to start.
You are fearful and scared.
This time, 
You go directly to the end.

Is time endless?
It might be so,
But it might not start,
Until you want it to..
You’re having fun 
But it finally comes to an end
Or you’re anxious
And you never go to the end
You are trapped in a timeless warp
There is no start or end

But this time 
You are brave and fearless
And you’ve come back to reality
You wake up from a strange dream
To hear your mom say, 
“Get ready for school.”
You feel happy and sad.
However, remember this was a lesson 
Time is always on your side 

If you want it to be.


2nd Place: Simply Breathtaking by Anat Briskin, Doherty Middle School

It’s all 

Simply Breathtaking
The lights go out
The music picks up
The candles are lit
And everything stops
The movements are simple
But the peace and unity
Make it 
Simply Breathtaking

Our breaths are held
We sit quietly in anticipation
My stomach buzzes in excitement
But it doesn’t change how the experience is 
Simply Breathtaking

But just for a moment
Everything is still
Except for the rippling waves
And the slowly turning candles
Simply Breathtaking

And it breaks
Wet bodies clamber out of the pool
We are herded out in rows
To face the spotlight 
That illuminates the now dimly lit wall 
We squint out to the audience
And I try to remember 
Just how I felt
When it was 

Simply breathtaking


1st Place: A random collection of thoughts and feelings and words (A Note to Someone) by Fiona Veletzos, Doherty Middle School

You have no idea
How hard it is sometimes
To fall asleep, just dream.
Slip into that place,
where nothing’s 
as it seems.

And the entire house
is slumbering
While you toss and turn in bed
With thoughts and words and pictures
through your head.

You have no idea
How hard it is sometimes
To get out of bed.
Just stand up, 
And keep moving
Not give up instead.

When the world 
seems so dark and cruel
Each day like the blackest night
And it’s so hard, so very hard
To find a glimmer 
of light.

You have no idea
Of the pain I feel inside
At the harshness of the world
At the demons that I hide

You think I’m perfect
All knowing, all seeing, all good.
The only thing I know
Is that I’m misunderstood.

You have no idea
How easy it is sometimes
To forget about the cruelty
Enjoy life, ignore my duty

To lock away the bad
Close that door in my head
And think of the present
Not what lies ahead.

Millions of people struggle
Hundreds of people die
But when we get the chance to help
We don’t even try

To help, to heal, to fix the broken
To make the world a better place
Just ‘cause we have privilege doesn’t mean 
we can ignore the rest of our race

You have no idea 
how hard it is sometimes
To stay awake at night
finish that last bit of work
While your eyelids 
keep drooping shut

While the crickets chirp outside
Just them 
And the dark night sky.
Stars shimmering
Cold and bright
Looking down from way up high

The whole house is silent
Fast asleep and dreaming 
While you’re trying to finish 
that poem in the night.


High School Honorees (presented alphabetically by last name)

The problem with being "problem" by Vincent
i have the perfect life.
the beautiful house, the caring family, the best dog.
i get called ungrateful when i say that my life isn't easy.
but it isn't.


nobody understands the feelings that i feel
when i can't help people i care for
not feel that way.
it doesn't make sense, but i'll try to explain.


i find it funny that i have to explain, though.
why should i have to explain?
i don't want to feel sad anymore
so why can't someone help me?


people don't believe me
when i say that i'm suffering.
they tell me to be happy,
but i have no more room for positivity.


the space of my brain is already crammed full
of academics because i push myself far too much,
and others' pain, because i want to listen to them,
take away their pain; i don't want them to feel such.


but i can't handle their baggage.
it's so much that it's running me over.
they say on the plane, put your mask on first,
but i never listened to that.


i'll deny the tears in my eyes.
i'll nod and say that i'm perfectly fine.
and even if you persist, comprehending my cries,
i'm already too far gone, too deep in my mind.


they complain about their bodies,
they complain without rest.=
skipping out each day at lunch
and it's not just to save lunch money.


and i start to question then,
what do they see me as?
i'm not nescessarily heavy, but i could lose some weight,
now when i am offered food, i always pass.


and then they were hurting themselves
and i tried to stop them,
but they seemed to do that
almost 24/7.


dreading every lunch block.
dreading every free period.
dreading having to go home
and not know if they were alright.


i've taken care of so many,
i've just tried to be the good guy.
but their pain caused me tenfold
so much i continue to cry.


it hurts to be sinking,
but it hurts more to see them sink like this.
and now i'm doing both,
but so slowly that i go overlooked.


i don't even want to win this contest,
but i just wanted to get this off of my chest.
thank you to whoever is listening,
you, my friend, are the best.


Trapped Yourself by Rishika Agarwal, Andover High School

You could be good
And never be allowed to fail 
And never enough to succeed
And never allowed to cry
And never allowed to be anything else
Limits are always the same
Confined by others 
Expectations set 
Believed as true
By people you’ve never met
By others who control you
Never allowed to break the restraint
Holding you back
From the life you want
Too afraid to fight
For fear of being kicked out
A reputation can be built
But how can it be destroyed?
Because all it’s done is tear down
The question is
How are you supposed to thrive 
When everyone knows who you are
And who you’ll become
They tell you to find yourself 
To pick a path
When all the roads have already been paved 
Surrounded by a desert
Of choices
Where it’s impossible to go

A poem for my English teachers by Katie Beaver, Andover High School

Ah, poetry.
The bane of my existence.
That "lovely for awhile until you're forced to write an essay on it" form of art.
We break it down to the bare bones:
A noun.
A verb.
An answer.
No imagination, No creativity.
Just what the author means,
what your english teacher wants.
Those rolling rows and columns writers build with ease,
collapsed under the weight of colored highlighters and red pens.
We break down their castles,
rubble in the form of constriction and structure.
The style, the sophistication
that once was an art form
is now a dictionary.
There is so much more than right or wrong,
Symphonies in the form of words.
Ah, poetry.
The bane of my existence.
True enjoyment has never been heard.


Pink plastic flamingos by Claire Cahill, Phillips Academy

everyone has a hidden third verse, 

a snake in the garden that slithers
under the golden summer 
sunset, the hollow discount flamingos
in the yard, and
the Stop & Shop fruit platter 
adorned with tiny american 
flag toothpicks,

a temptation
to burn it
burn it
burn it.

those damn flamingos promised:
everything you touch
will turn into gold.

but, you said, 
the american dream has a catch
they don’t tell you about.

burn it,
burn it all down.

and you do.
you let angry tongues
of fire and ghostly puffs
of patriotism long
gone lick away at the pink
plastic bodies until they
melt into nothing but
empty promises and the 
smell of kerosene.


Unrequited Love by Mimi Cung

Wearing you down until you cannot feel pain
The scars are noticeable to everyone except yourself
Consuming your body and exploiting your heart.
I find comfort in his erratic appearances
The single digits we spend together
To feel worthy for just a few minutes surpasses the heartache
Eventually the voices telling you to go,
Gets muted.
The once excruciating pain,
Gets dulled.
Take a look inside his mind
It will be full of memories and laughs and smiles
Losses, rough times, despairing moments
But how far will you have to go until you see me?
Will it take as long to discover me in his life as it takes him to acknowledge my presence?
Maybe it is his perfectly aligned smile or his chocolatey brown eyes 
It manipulates my heart, ties it into a million knots
I could stop it before I cannot be untangled, but I do not. I do not want to.
The measly affection,
It is safe. Familiar.
A tragedy that controls me
Pain that does not hurt 
Everyone says to leave,
But I can’t.
And it is not his fault
He is not the problem 
I am.


The Thug Love With The Inspiring Message by Isaac Diaz, GLTS

As a teenager I didn't think I had to look back in my life to feel some pity for myself. I didn't think I was going to wish to go back to my single digit ages. I didn't think there was things to overthink twice or even have sleepless night, letting the thoughts salvage you. Now, as a young adult I see and reflect on things. Now I see the wrongs in my heart and my wrongs with others. Now I see what and how I went wrong. I can tell you all the lies the world sold me. I can tell you how much lies I bought from others. This isn't a pity poem. This isn't something you read just because. This is true work. This is true art. Poetry is more than writing. It's an identity to people. It's an escape to others. To some, a therapy. We don't know what we have till it's all gone. As a kid I thought I didn't have to lose. That the world was all given and easy. I was wrong. Late nights signing songs and writing what had me tangled up. One day it was her. The next was the hospital. After that it was all my scars. I have scars on my back. From the unwanted whippings my mother gave me. I have scars from the lethal belt that made me cry and made my heart full of anger. I thank my mother for that. I hated her but at the end I know why she did it. I thank all the people that left my life. They showed me who not to get close to. I also thank the pain I went through. Not only because it made me want to do something about it, but for giving me thug love. Showing me that the streets ain't safe. That the cold nozzle and the rope aint your bestfriend but your temptation. It showed me that change isn't bad but rather good. Maturity isn't shown it's self Inflicted. Not everybody can ask for help. I asked for help once. She left me down. They let me down. It let me down. No. They didn't let me down. Therapy didn't let me down. They helped me and I had to fly by myself. It was my turn. To inspire. To make others want to do better. I went through it all. Pain, heartbreak,depression, almost murder, abuse, drugs you name it. Throughout all that I learned one thing; you're amazing. No matter what. Doesn't matter what you're going through you will get through it. You won't feel like it in the moment but when you do you will inspire others. You will be looked up on instead of looked down on. Maybe I'm not inspiring. Maybe I'm not helping. All I know is I take these words and turn them to positivity. I take these word and hide my pain behind them. Thug love. That's what depression showed me but it also showed me the most valuable thing; you matter. We all do.


Remember Your Roots by Hannah Goff, Andover High School

I am from Disney Channel,
From Blue's Clues and Wonder Pets.          
I am from the pristine Brooklyn brownstones,
(incessant honks, concrete jungles, and unprecedented art)   
I am from Blue Spruce Christmas trees,
On average, a 7 ft host of vibrant rainbow lights, innocent elementary school artwork, and a holy angel reminding everyone to have faith and hope.

I am from AMC theatres and smuggling mouthwatering snacks into my mother's purse.
From my siblings Ava and Garrett,
I am from the "middle-child syndrome" and the titleholder of "the family peacekeeper,"
From "there's food at the house" and "when I was young, we never had…"
I am from "In the name of the father, son, and holy spirit," and humbling Friday night CCD classes.
I am from the New England colonies,
Routine winter storm warnings, mispronounced words, and field trips to Plymouth Plantation.
From my grandfather's distinctive Irish skin, 
To my mysterious double-jointed thumbs that have reduced my risk for painful finger injuries.
Crammed into office bins lie irreplaceable photos of loved ones inside handcrafted scrapbooks,
Reinforcing the value of family, self-reflection, and memories, while honoring notable accomplishments and achievements.
I am from these milestones-
Shaping my perspective of the world.
Chasing my dreams,
Traveling upstream.


Don’t Love Me by Michael Makiej, Andover High School

By the time you love me, I'll be gone,
In a crack of thunder, a blinding light,
An ancient camera flash.

By the time you love me, my love will be gone,
The heated chase, which once had fueled me,
Has starved in safety under Lover's shade.

By the time you love me, My laugh will be gone,
A stolid stranger: glassy eyes and hollow grins.
Greeting me in mirrors and your eyes.

By the time you love me, I'll have moved on.
Foraying forward, finding further folly.
The shadows lithe; the bushes near and plentiful;
My distant hand so far, so weightless.

By the time you love me, My heart will be gone,
In Smouldered cold; the remnants calm as ash.
Your tears can't quench a bygone flame.

By the time you love me, the memories will fade,
My smile is blurry, but genuine eternal.
I live till the last man forgets me.


Golden Lovers Michael Makiej, Andover High School

Oh Love is distance dreadful, constance close,
It's under shade, a honeyed heat we share.
It's tender kiss as timeless as the trees,
And only love can make the careless care.

Oh love is rosy cheeks in dimming lights,
Clandestine lips that nestle toward the ear.
The rumors and the daydreams and the fights,
Forgotten in the instant you're held near.

Oh Love it flickers soft in candle's light,
It flashes like a flare beside the stars.
At times it roars and spits like fiercest flame,
But no love lives without its stabs and scars.

Infatuation withers next to love,
For purity cannot conflate with lust.
The wild peace of love can only grow,
If roots are deep, betwixt the silted trust.

And now I'm home, imagine all my joy,
Returning to the eyes that still my soul.
Her countenance begets an ageless era,
Without a sound, two hearts again made whole.

The Language of the Birds by Eva McKone, Andover High School

Oh!–the birds,
The birds.
Such sweet and mournful
Tunes escape their beaks.
Rippling, rippling, rippling
Through the cool air
On this mid-October morning.

How the clouds frame 
Their beloved sky
And the world hushes
To hear the birds
Sing! Sing! Sing!
The birds cry out
Into grey oblivion.

The birds. The birds!
How they pound at their cages,
Beating their wings
Until they are bruised
And broken.

Singing, crying, screeching.
All is the same
In the language 
Of the Birds.


Relaxation by Jesus Benjamin Santiago, Jr., Greater Lawrence Technical School

Born, to where a dreadful tragedy has occurred
His sensitive mind is blurred
His speech is mumbled and slurred
He tries to throw out words
But they are left out
And unheard

His reason to hurt
Traumatized by humility
Uncured, insecure, reoccurring
Emotions are stirred
It can only evaporate and everything that evaporates eventually
Just becomes soluted with the air
Only then he can say goodbye
To hurt

The feeling of relaxation
Everytime he looks at his white dove
Its relaxing sensation
Him and his white dove
In isolation
For more relaxation

He has medication without the medicine
The bitter taste of red ooze is his booze
He wanted to be a painter so he also paints his walls with it
His walls are also filled with empty holes
Holes created by the oozing knuckles
To remind him

Of relaxation

Edge of his porch
Toes curled on the wet wooden planks
To forge an arch
Eyes are closed, embracing the tension that scorches
Feeling every inch his dove has to offer
It soars

Feet first
Head last
Last gasp

The relaxation after the surface of the water
Contact with the bubbles chasing for ascension
His emotions dissolving leaves off the impression
The moon’s light concenters with his torso
Looking at the moon as he sinks. . he feels no remorse so

He sinks deeper, feeling the liquid body
Sinking with his clothes soggy
Creating weight
His clothes are concrete blocks
His time left is a ticking clock
The hands, becoming shorter
Before. . .

so deep in
pressure popped his dRums
consistEnt ringing
adrenaLine rushing through his heAd
a bullet sent on a journey to his thoraX
he observes the bubbles spewed
As the bulleT comes closer
ready to ingraIn, he becomes lOyal 
to the bullet that derived its jourNey to form. . .

Death’s door, a big fire
Left for
The dead corpse
The remains pour
Through the water
And therefore
The body remains in a body
Sometime soon that body will travel to another body
But for now that body can coze in the body
For which that body
Is finally at peace
And relaxation


Duality: Our World by Shravya Sathi, Andover High School

The world is a good place
This is a lie
Monsters and selfishness take over
No one has a caring heart
Don’t convince me that
Good people are still here
Because when I look around 
I don’t see them
The hatred and war
The Misfortune and difficulty
It is our world
People say

(read top to bottom and then bottom to top)


Fig Tree by Ethan Shahbazian, Andover High School

humanity marvels at the sight of a fig tree
elegantly bearing leaves,
but fails to acknowledge 
the terra cotta vase beneath it.
the true heroes of the story
live among the shadows.
their powerful voice
worth a thousand words
silenced to a soft whisper 
in the gentle breeze.

the magnificent painting on display
is the center of attention,
admired by countless spectators, 
yet its luxurious golden frame 
is naturally deemed worthless.

a building’s spectacular facade
is praised,
but its foundation 
does not meet the eye.

do not steal the spotlight
from the person who helped you ascend into brilliance
helped you feel the golden sunlight on your skin
a sensation you never experienced before
like pure honey slowly dripping down your complexion
the only one who believed in you
when you didn’t even believe in yourself
do not diminish
the person who made you feel 
like a fig tree
elegantly bearing leaves.


Once in a Day by Elisabeth Shin, Andover High School

It was a serene night
As I watched the world grow silent
They had heard about the dead
The sick and those becoming weary

It was the twilight moon
When it began to spread far beyond its confines
It lept into the celestial mountains of the heavens
And into the Alps and the snowy pines

It was the morning sun
An explosion had occurred
The cries of the sick rung throughout
The panic that was to sprout about

It was a blue sky
An impeccable day with a balmy breeze
The children all stayed inside
While the rest stood still

It was the peak of noon
The shelves were empty and thrown about
The streets littered with silence
Those who walked were pensive in thought

It was the orange sunset
The growth was exclamatory
Businesses were cluttered in chaos
As hospitals deciphered morality

It was the evening stars
The hope that remained in us all
As we waited for it to die out

I remember the morning, day, and night
What had begun and ended.

High School Winners

3rd Place: Falling Without a Parachute by Mimi Cung

So fast with no time to admire any of it,
Adrenaline fueling you to fully commit.
You are so high up, you feel like a queen,
Too blinded by the thrill to notice what could be foreseen.

Flying with no protection,
Disregarding all discretion.
A choice to catalyze some action
Tired of life’s dissatisfaction

From a desire to move forward,
Not wanting to be restricted to order.
Wanting a change,
Ready to see the universe’s range.

An impulse made to excite your life,
Your ignorance may lead to possible strife.
The turn may take you to new heights,
No one knows what the next story writes.

2nd Place: I Can’t Write About “Peace” by James Wong, Andover High School

When U.S. soldiers walk the streets of Afghanistan 
And the Ku Klux Klan still walks in our country;                                                
And I walk to school afraid of becoming a victim of the next shooting.

I can’t write about “peace”                                                      
When people are victims of violence because of their skin tone.
I can’t write about “peace”
When a man’s earnings are 19.3% more than a woman's.
I can’t write about “peace”
When we’re afraid to be ourselves so that we can meet others’ expectations.

I can’t write about “peace”
Until we start getting rid of exclusion.
I can’t write about “peace” 
Until we close the gap between women and men.
I can’t write about “peace” 
Until we all start speaking out against discrimination and prejudice.

I can’t write about “peace” 
Until we find a solution to gun violence;
Until we begin to question the necessity of war.
Because I can’t write about Peace by myself.
We all need to write this poem.


1st Place: I Want to be Noticed by Claire Cahill, Phillips Academy

so I tie the bottoms of long 
striped children’s size-14 t-shirts
in knots at the waist.

sometimes I don’t capitalize things
because I am too scared to 
Speak With Conviction.

I chewed mint gum after
chemistry once.

I like “things for boys” like 
engineering and outer space and
the saturn v, and sometimes
they Make Me Look Stronger 
Than I Am.

I Want to be Noticed

so I try to set the world
on fire but all I have for kindling

is myself.