Loftrún Utyard, 10th - Arlington, VA
Maybe you’re twelve or thirteen, and you think- You’re in a world where if you were are at a party-
And things went south
Someone would come pick you up.
And even if it’s dark
Or the thing that happened wasn't even that bad
There’s someone on the other end of the phone
Who cares about your well-being
And they drive you home
Only asking questions if you want questions to be asked
Look out the window at all the lights and neons
And you’re so thankful
Who will come and get you.
And maybe now
You’re fifteen or sixteen
And you're at a party- or somewhere worse
Things aren’t going good at all.
And you feel the cool, solid feel of the concrete
Beneath your legs and that dress that’s a little too short-
And you get out your phone
And call for someone
To come take you home
The first one you call doesn’t even pick up
And the second one, Tells you it’s all your fault in the first place
And you don’t have any friends
Any that drive- anyways.
So you sit there
Of the adults that are coming to get you
In a different way.
M.Antonini, 11th - New York, NY
“Big cars, weapons, fast food and Big Gulp menus are frequent.”
“In general, Americans are generous, open, and friendly, but prefer their own culture.”
“The attractive lifestyle is portrayed by Hollywood and copied around the world.”
“Talk loud and have limited knowledge of the rest of the world. Unless there is a serious conflict, then they can arrive with the cavalry with Bruce Willis in command with blazing guns and save the day.”
These are just a few of the things non-Americans I spoke to noted as identifying features of America. Many of those ideas, such as an emphasis on consumerism and self-promotion are facets of American culture that many who live in the U.S. carry with pride. But do those ideals truly represent the future that America should be striving towards?
* * *
To be an American means something different to everyone. To some, it means obstinately believing that everything dubbed to be wrong within it can be excused. To others, it means wanting it to embody a set of ideals once promised and fighting for a place they see as not only possible, but ineffably urgent. Sometimes critiquing America and the systems in place within it are met with critics, people who claim to love their country unconditionally. But is it truly loving your country if the moment it is met with criticism your first instinct is to deny it, to dream for it to stay the same, to never evolve, to never include everyone? Is it truly love if it only supports the flag, but not all the people who form the country it represents?
* * *
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and announced their separation from Great Britain. It was a day of celebration with bells and band music, the genesis of a new beginning, a chance to become a nation that was different from where they had come from, free of tyranny and mistreatment. But that escape from tyranny and mistreatment only applied to some, and to different degrees. For others, it didn’t apply at all.
On July 4, 2020, after the murder of George Floyd on May 25 the same year, at the hands of a police officer, conversations spurred regarding racism in America, both institutionally and culturally. However, these conversations were not new. As many signs during protests read, “the same bell has been ringing since 1619, and now you choose to listen”. However, it is pertinent to not only condemn social justice issues but actively work to solve them. As Matthew Zapruder’s essay titled “A Poem for Harm” states, “A mere willingness to bring an explosive issue forward (especially one that does not directly affect you) is not the same as an actual acceptance or responsibility or even culpability.” For many white Americans, pretending problems don’t exist and hoping that they will going away simply through waiting, is a privilege. To them, ignoring the problem is easier than working to fix it, as ignorance does not require the consciousness that action would force them to possess: a resolute self-awareness. But just because a problem has never faced an individual personally, it does not mean that it is not a part of their country’s history. A full picture of history would include every detail about every person, event, place, and thought, and even if one of those things does not directly affect everyone, it is still a part of a collective history and therefore contributes to a collective responsibility to strive for fairness and equality.
* * *
I am a first-generation American. My mom and dad both were born and raised in Europe, Sweden and Italy, respectively, and moved to the U.S. in their teens to continue their studies. I spent summers with my grandmothers in Rome and Stockholm, learning about other cultures that shaped my parents and ultimately me. I am often struck by the people there, the spirit of joy that pervades nearly all aspects of life, how similar yet different it was than being home. It was always interesting to hear how people described America when I visited. When I was younger a lot of it was related to the commercial chains that developed in the cities, like McDonalds and Burger King, and the sheer size of American creations from cars to fridges. It often sounded like a combination of awe and bewilderment, but over the years, as I got older, it shifted to politics, to Trump, and to the immediate need for change. To many, and understandably so, watching American news was like watching a horror/reality TV show that for some reason never cut to a commercial break.
* * *
There is something to be said about loving your country, maybe even just liking it, but is it really love, if you don’t want it to change, to become better? Is it truly unpatriotic to teach kids in schools about the complete history of their country, even the bad parts? When you go the doctor, do you not tell them about your pain because you are worried that they will try to fix it? No, of course not, because you know that it needs to be fixed, because something is hurting, and it will only get worse if nothing is changed. There is nothing more revealing of a person’s love for their country than their wanting to make it better and continuously evolve. As novelist James Baldwin once said, “I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
* * *
Johari Osayi Idusuyi, a twenty-three year old writer and student at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, decided to attend a Trump Rally in 2015 with three friends, with the intention of listening to the Republican nominee and determining for themselves what to make of him. “We tried to take an unbiased stand,” she says, but eventually things took a drastic turn; protesters arrived at the rally inciting reactions from both the ralliers and Trump. Idusuyi notes, “I don’t think Trump handled it with grace. I thought, ‘Oh, you’re really not empathetic at all.’ That’s when the shift happened.” Unable to get up from her seat and leave due to her being placed in the stands directly behind the camera, she decided to read the book she brought with her: Citizen by Claudia Rankine. “I’m not going to waste my time listening to somebody whom I can’t respect anymore, so I started to read,” she recalls. So there she sat, peacefully reading Rankine’s book, a moving and poignantly relevant story about the reality of racism in America and the immense emotional toll it takes on black Americans. A few moments later, a couple seated behind her tapped her on the shoulder and and crassly remarked, “‘If you don’t wanna be here then leave. You didn’t even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance,’” to which Idusuyi replied, “‘Did you not just see what happened? This person disrespects women, minorities, everybody and you’re still supporting him. He’s not saying anything of substance.’”
* * *
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” declares the 1892 Pledge of Allegiance. Working towards creating liberty and justice for all is what constitutes love for a country, a love for its people. Without that hope for the future, the Pledge of Allegiance and all other American traditions cannot truly serve their purpose. If not supported by action and a willingness to affect change, these affirmations remain empty words. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “A constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom.”
Anonymous, 9th - Oakland, CA
Playing house sure did not work.
I hear my parents yelling at the other room
Tears stream down my little sibling’s face.
I look at the closed door in front of me.
I ask myself,
“When will this end?”
“When will we be happy?”
“Can we be a ‘Family’?”
“When will they get along?”
“Can we have a family where everyone loves each other?”
“Can I have two parents who will never yell at each other?”
“I wonder what my siblings feel”
“I wonder if they could just stop fighting pay attention to us”
My dad spending money, gambling. My mother working hard to feed us and provide us a warm home.
Some days go good some days go bad or even more damaging.
When we visit our family we put on a bright smile. Telling them we are “fine”. I keep my mouth shut not telling my cousin that my parents fought last night. I have a hard time studying thinking about my parents.
My friends don’t even know I lie to them when I tell them, “ I love my family, we all love each other”
My siblings bear the pain with me and we keep our mouths shut tight.
Not letting out a peep on what goes in our house every day.
Our dad doesn’t even come home, he stays out there god knowing what he does.
Sometimes I could tell when he is drunk, asking my mother for money knowing we don’t have enough.
Dad driving drunk with me and my siblings back home from a party, our Aunt told us to stay but the stingy old man (my dad’s friend) wanted to go home.
Music blasting load as my dad and the man continue to drink more beers. I look over my older sister looking out the window. I look at my little brother who was 3-4 years old sleeping.
I looked down, “ If I had a phone I would call my mom, “ I say.
I look out the window, cars passing slow.
The cars pass by slow.
Cars passing by Slow.
I stay still for a moment, “ we are going fast” I say.
I shut my eyes and tighten my grip on my seat belt.
“ If we get in a car crash will the seat belt save me?”
“ what about my little brother who is sleeping?”
“My older sister who is on her phone ignoring the fact that my dad and the man are drunk”
I open my eyes and see red and blue light. I turn around and look back.
Police car. I look back at my older sister, she ignores my worried face and looks away.
My brother wakes up and starts to cry,
I start to get nauseous.
They grab my father and place him inside the police car.
My mind goes blurry.
I really don’t know what it feels like to have a happy family. My friends do know that feeling and my cousin too.
I don’t feel jealous, I don’t know why.
A plastic family.
A plastic family.
A happy life?
A plastic family.
A plastic family.
Plastic family it is.
Seeing children with a happy family makes me feel happy and sad.
Us kids are suffering if parents have a fight or won’t get along.
Plastic family it is.
Sola, 10th- Oakland, CA
It feels as if the air is being stripped away from my lungs. Little by little as each breath becomes shorter and rapid. I hastily pressed the elevator button that signaled to go down over and over again. Each press throws my brain off with anxiety. I make sure to look back every few seconds to see if they have caught up. GOD! WHEN WILL THIS GODDAMN THING OPEN?! I heard the small ding and used my fingers to attempt to pry the door open. I couldn’t wait even another second to get in. As the door started to open I squeezed through mid opening. Immediately I turn around and jab the buttons randomly which I regretted almost instantly. But then, I see him. He was at the end of the hallway but his eyes could’ve been right in front of me. There would be no difference. At this point I am stabbing the button that closes the elevator door. He runs. I jump back hitting my head against the wall behind me watching as this demon of a man sprint at full force. The door started closing at slow motion compared to the speed of him. The thumping of his feet was louder than thunder. I close my eyes shut. So hard that tears I didn’t know had formed started overflowing down my face. As I slowly opened my eyes I saw a closed door and an empty elevator around me. I let out a breath that I wasn’t even aware I was holding. It still feels as if my lungs were as big water balloons, only taking short quick breaths cause it feels like they might burst. My eyes started gravitating at the mess I made with the elevator buttons. Out of the 30 floors on this building, half of the buttons for each floor was pressed making it look like a light show made by children.The next stop is floor 12. My eyes widen as the small box on the top of the door is showing the number 16 then descending to 15. My mind gets clouded with static as I watch the number 15 turn to 14 to 13. I feel the elevator slowly begin to stop as my insides start to feel like it was sinking to my toes. He can’t possibly know I’ll stop at 12 right? Right? I tip my body forward only allowing my head to peer out. I scanned the area and sure enough, he wasn’t nearby. I exhale in relief only to be met with a tap on my shoulder. His finger sent electric currents down my whole system. Every part of my body tenses up, becoming harder than a rock. My eyes are opened so wide to the point it hurts.
“ Tag! You’re it!” He laughs. I turned around and there he was. My little brother. He then leans over, wheezing so hard it sounds like he’s choking. Of course he knew the next stop would be floor 12. I forgot this building’s elevator shows the next stop on the screen above the door, even on the outside.
“ Dangit! I can’t believe you caught me again!” I shouted in an exhale. I loosen up my body and relax my shoulders. I, too, am catching my breath obnoxiously loud. “ Now that we’re done,” I pause to continue inhaling. “...playing, Mom said to meet her at the front desk so we can check-out of this hotel.”
Xioamaipu, 10th- Oakland, CA
I run all day, every day. I don't know why I run, but I know I need to keep running. Running all year round. When the sky is cold, my hand is trembling. When the sky is hot, my body feels like is on fire. I proceed running. Day after day, year after year. Countless people, plants, animals, ideas, float past.
I see the endless road ahead, and there are many roads to choose from. I'm afraid of running the wrong way, but I can't go back. I always choose the middle, because I know when I choose the middle it's not always the worst, and it's not the best. When I run forward, I'll remember some beautiful scenery. The aftertaste scenery is beautiful.
Looking for a dream is like putting out a fire. When I looked around, I realized that I was not alone. People all over the world are running forward. I know better than to only want myself. I try to make friends with the people around me because I want to make myself not lonely and want to run forward with my friends. Only a tenacious road tomorrow will be even more brilliant. Tired and used to no longer feeling. I closed my eyes and listened to the clock tick. The birds began to chirp at dawn. Even if you're crying or laughing, you're going to live with incomprehensible contradictions until you're numb.
Looking forward to a peaceful life, what should we do in the future. After thinking about it, I still don't understand. I never feel sorry for the bad things in the past. On the contrary, I feel that I have to go through it. Running, from the previous ignorant childhood, to now understand a lot of feelings. But I think I haven't run to the end. I decided to continue to run. I want to experience more interesting things, know more knowledge and to enrich myself.
"Must let oneself live splendidly" the person beside me said to me. I looked around and on the person's face hangs the smile. Now, I finally know why I keep running forward. The original so-called forward running. Doesn’t everyone have to experience continuous growth?
Anonymous, 9th- Oakland, CA
I don’t even know why there are people that have negative feelings towards LGBTQ. There are people who would treat them badly. They would say, ”you can’t date the same gender as you are." I say yes you can. No one can stop you dating the same gender as you.
I have been informed by my sister that there are only some countries that accept LGBTQ. I could’t believe it. There sure are homophobic people out there hating on them. Seeing a person hiding their identity, who they are, out in public is not satisfying. I want everyone to show their true Identity. Let them see who they are. We need to stop and think about what it might be like to be in their shoes and for one day, let them feel what they feel everyday. We need to show our true identity. Who we are.
We should head out of our cave right now, and count ourselves in as humans that are showing our true identity. Stop hurting yourself. You matter. I love you.
It doesn't matter who you are where you are, I love the way you are.
Show me your true Identity. Ignore those homophobic people. They are not humans.
Show me your “ true Identity”.
Brenda, 9th - Dublin, CA
I am a failure. I know I am. At my age I should already have a successful career and stability, but here I am counting every single last dime. I am useless in this society and can offer nothing. I have no talents and too many dreams to chase. My time is ticking and my youth is leaving me, but I can not bring myself to get out of bed. My body is not what it used to be and I can’t help but flinch at the disgusting creature in the mirror. “Look at those ugly scars. Go cover up that lousy fat skin of yours.”
My head is full of doubts that haunt me each night. Bright blue, yellow and red lights panic me even though they are supposed to be my friends. Medical bills stack like pancakes that are too expensive to eat. No matter where I go all I hear is “You don’t belong here. Go back to your own country.” I can’t help but wonder, what am I doing here? All I have in this life are minimum slave-like wages and judging stares that tear my mind in four. The shame is too much to endure and I am too homesick to run forth. Here I am this run down bathroom; it doesn't matter if I am thinking straight. That thought doesn’t guilt me anymore.
“Mom!” Two little feet come through the door and those bright little eyes look right through me. I can’t form any words and my uncertainty turns into tears. She understands me just through a small glance without a single word.
“I-I-I just can’t do it anymore. I am just not strong enough.” I feel her two small hands wrap around me while she starts crying in silence.
“I have no one here and besides what hope do we have here?”
“You have me. We'll make it out of here one day.”
Michaela Mizuki, 7th - Tokyo, Japan
Note: There is a mention of a suicide in this story. Please remember that If you or anyone you know is struggling, reach out to a teacher, counselor, or prevention lifeline. There is always help around.
Who are you? The question echoes back at me, mocking. Laughing. Who am I? I can’t seem to explain the colors that swirl in my head, the images that twist together and flit through my mind. When I try to explain them, the others look at me, with the same glazed-over look they always have in their eyes when they’re Not Listening. Who am I? I tuck my shirt in and watch the wrinkled paper, wondering what my answer will be. Would it be easier to respond with the wild abstractness that always beats with my heart? Would it be better to push my existence into a neat little box that everyone adores, instead of spilling over the edges? I push away the peace of paper I’ve been planning to write on for hours and sigh. My sweat has stained it severely. The blank page, at first glance, seems empty and full of nothing interesting. But I know the thoughts and possibilities of what could have been written there are still there, in another future. This one page has a million different pieces of writing in it, and what I choose to write will be one of them. I take a deep breath, then put my pen to paper. Swirls dance across the page, and they spell out a name:
My existence is the glitch in the universe. I cannot be pinned in a name.
I cannot be pinned in a name.
The words I’ve been waiting for so long leaves me relieved and disappointed at the same time. Bittersweet. I wonder what I would’ve written, if the words had appeared on her paper. But it was on mine first. I tuck the paper into my folder, smiling, and hide it under my pillow. Not very convenient, I know, but being an only child and a book worm has taught me to shut people out in such a way that they don’t notice at all. I wonder what I’ve missed out on, what I could’ve had, if I hadn’t kept such close walls around my heart. Somehow, after all these years, someone had found my stash of pages from my diary, hidden in an alcove of roots under the willow tree no one cares about. And then, on a sweet Autumn morning, her reply had come.
Why can’t you see your own future, if you’re the one that makes it? You are a collection of memories and thoughts and feelings, and you can make your own future. You are never in the past, but you are always in the past. You are always living and you are always dying.
How anyone had found it, I was clueless, but I had considered the letter. Somehow, the peculiar questions were stuck inside my brain, the ones I’d wondered but kept to myself, because everyone began shutting me out when I asked them, or gave me weird looks. I learned to blend in. Lose emotion. Stop following the instincts I’d loved as a child. The words left an imprint on my thoughts for a week before I left a note back, just to see what would happen.
I can’t be explained. The future is so chaotic I can’t find my place in it. What is a feeling like?
And then, a few days later, they responded. For some reason, when I got a letter, my mouth would move ever so slightly upwards and my feet skimmed the floor. What was this? The first letter had come three months ago. Since then, my ventures to the library had become more infrequent as I carefully recorded my answers to the letters in silence, in my small room at the end of the dingy hallway that looked exactly the same as the twenty-three others. Here was the new routine after breakfast. The incorrigible bell would ring, slow and monotonous, and the orphanage manager’s head, perfectly in sync with the noise, followed it around the corner to the doorway to my room. Shooting me a vexed look, she clicked her tongue and motioned to me. I forced my mouth not to twist in the sour line that it wanted to. Why couldn’t Ms. Vexnaw, just once, let me disregard the clock?
Pulling my rucksack over my shoulder, I sprint down the hallway, and managed to catch the watery-gray bus that was stained with the same smell of boredom that somehow seeped into everything in my neighborhood. Welcome to the place you should probably never come, and join us in the everyday activity of Acting Like We Have No Brains At All. Which is being fulfilled right now, actually. Everyone’s incessant blank stare out the windows is unappealing and bordering on unsettling, and I slip my hand in my bag for a book, retrieving a worn-out cover of Call Of The Wild . As my eyes brush the first few pages, a light voice enters my ears. “Hi, have zombies infiltrated Earth?” A strange question, and it takes me a moment to realize it’s directed at me.
I flinch backwards, looking up from my book. I hear a few snickers. The Shock Effect, as everyone’s so kindly named it, is how I react when someone bothers to speak to me. Whenever someone calls my name, I automatically flinch and look like someone’s slapped me; additionally, when I find no one has and someone actually simply wants to talk to me I look shocked. I’m not sure when the Shock Effect began, all I know is I started around the end of last year. I find pale gray eyes fastened on mine, and I avert my eyes uncomfortably. I’ve never been one for eye contact. “Sorry?”
“The apocalypse,” the girl says patiently. “Is it here yet?” I shrug.
“Sorry, but you’re asking the wrong person. But if I had to make a guess, I’d say no, from the lack of deaths. Not today, at least,” I say. “Always could happen anytime, though.” She gives me a faint smile before leaving.
I’ve never wanted to think much about how much I rely on them, the letters under the willow. There’s freedom in anonymity- freedom in knowing you will not be pinned to your actions. More than that, the notes I receive are open. The questions I ask are actually considered, instead of having the ready-made answers shot back at me. Because even though they do matter, the opinions of others have never made solid dents in me. I grew used to the strange quirks of society, and while society didn’t accept me, they tolerated me, like a weird growth on an evergreen tree that stretched up to the heavens. Clinging on. Barely there, but still there. That was the difference. There was dead and nearly dead. Failed and nearly failed. The few things that changed which ones changed everything.
Because whenever there is a suicide broadcasted on the news, or the tearful face of a peer who can’t handle her life anymore, I know in my heart the distance between that person and me is too small to bear. The letters are a distraction. The letters are a drug. When my family forgets about my existence, the letters are all I have.
So I’ve never cared much about others, too immersed in my thoughts. But when I reveal my dreams, my soul, to this person I have never met except through our letters, I am basking in anonymity. I could be vulnerable. I could reveal the things I did to my friend that still plague me with guilt at night. But not only that, I am connected most to the one person I will never meet, whose words are tinged with laughter and every added thought weighted with insightfulness. Because I’ve never cared much about others. But I do so very much care about what They say- what new words will touch my heart at the end of a long day.
Am I a bad person?
You made a mistake. But you’ll never be bad to me.
You’ll never be bad to me.
The letters have been coming for a long, long time. Longer than I care to remember. I still remember brushing aside the pale roots of the tree, trying not to smile, then feeling the crinkle of paper against my hand. Seeing the elegantly sprawled writing, painting worlds that I could never have begun to imagine. I had replied, half out of madness and half out of sheer curiosity. It had started from there. I have never spoken of them to everyone. They are precious to me- precious in such a way that I cannot manage to force their existence into words. They are merely a presence in my life that drapes itself around me like a cool, soothing blanket. I do not want to know who is on the other end of the line. I do not want to think about the day I will have to move and will never see them again.
As I cross the street, my mouth curves in a smile as I think of the latest note they’d left me- a neatly folded pink post-it. We have an unofficial system now. When one of us has a note to put down, we put it down after nine at night. The one who put the note keeps away for the next week until the other finds it. It could be strange, wholly trusting we will both follow our traditions. But we do. “Hey!” a voice calls from across the street. I look up to see a bright smile and a pair of sparkling eyes to accompany it. “We’ll be late for school!” Automatically, I feel the corners of my mouth twitching downwards, then hurry to pull them back up. Already, something is pressing down on my shoulders. The weight of empty friendship stretches between us, wide and yawning. Awkward conversations and half-finished sentences. It’s not her fault, I remind myself. Stuffing the letters in my pockets, I race to get to her before the light blinks red. And then my foot twists on the smooth pavement.
When my hand plunges, yet again, into the knotted hole, it comes up empty. Nothing. I swallow tears of frustration. Why isn’t there anything? I clench the crumpled scrap of blue-and-white paper in my hand, staring at the willow. For a long time, her last response is the one that echoes in my mind. As I lay awake at night, as I slip away during a playdate, as I’m staring out the bus window on the way to school. Over time, I take her notes with me everywhere. And finally, one day, I find it. The goodbye. As I’m walking along a row of smooth chipped stones, I see a piece of red-lined white paper, fluttering in the wind, penned to the smooth rock it sits on. There’s one sentence on it.
If there was one thing in the universe that made my life better, it was your letters from the tree. Carved on the gravestone, jagged and thin, is her name: Maria Davis, 2003-2019.
I’m not sure how many more times I visit the gravestone before I have the courage to do it. The letters, shredded into thousands of tiny scraps, dance in the air as I let them go. For the first time in ages, I’m not thinking about the next letter and the distraction it will give me. The encouragement it will give me, or the courage to go on. I am no longer leaning on her letters. They will always stay with me, but they do not make me. As I leave the cemetery, I see a willow tree’s branch, fluttering in the wind.
anonymous writer, 9th - Oakland, CA
Being a daughter of an immigrant is no fun. What I mean is that people look down on us. Most of my classmates have parents that are also immigrants. We suffer so much, though I see there is no change being made in accepting immigrants. They leave their home to come to the United States to have a better life for their children. While crossing the border they have to go through a dessert, mountains and oceans.
Most people expect to have a good life in the United States. But my life…? I'm truly grateful that I was born here but the United States is cruel. Better life? Those words don't exist in me. Better life by coming to the United States? What we really get is working 24/7 so that they can give their children something to fill up their stomaches. Their children are also looked down upon, just because they were born by immigrants. Being an American Citizen must be nice, and not having these concerns because their families are also citizens.
Most teenagers have to work to help their parents pay the bills and the rent. That is our life. We don't have freedom so at least we have traditions.
American citizens have to know that by supporting ——, he may kick us out. However, we are all the same. It does not matter the color, height, race and languages. We are all welcome, papers are just papers, nothing special about it. I say we are all the same, there is nothing different about us. I say we are all immigrants, by coming and taking over the the Native Americans' territory.
I really hate the United history.
A. Hernandez, 9th - Oakland, CA
I am from the paintings that cover my home
The soft acrylic layering over a canvas
From the swans that hover over me and the tiger who protects me
The flowers that wrap around the doorway
And the bunny blanket where I knew I was safe
It was soft to the touch- like a real bunny
I am from the princess lamp in my living room
that reflects a shadow of my childhood
I am from a candle lit room
With aromas of wild flower
Smells like I’m outside, even when we have to stay inside
I am from the strawberry wrapped candies we see all around the house
They’re so sweet to the taste
Where do they all come from? Comes to mind
I am from a diverse neighborhood
We’re so different, yet so connected
Where the corner store brings us together
A memorized playlist we all hear over a radio
Even during the roughest times
I am from the nostalgia of a better time
Students 6th-12th Grades