The America Library of Poetry


2014 Student Poetry Contest
Division Winners


Division I
(grades 3-5)

by Bridgette Rupp

and caramel streaks
race across the immense beach,
scattering sand behind them,
galloping with the wind,
spreading across the sand in the open, empty night.
Only the sound of hooves against the warm earth
in the humid, summer night
fills the air around
the sweaty beasts.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Bridgette Rupp


by Linnea Geenen

Tapping against the glass,
tears fall from the sky,
as a river of sadness overflows.
The clouds cannot contain their sorrow.
Blanketing the world in darkness,
the sky lights up,
as screams echo through the air.
Dark gray turns to black.
Anger bursts forth,
as the clouds breathe out,
loud as a lion's roar.
The storm goes on.
The screaming softens,
to a moan,
and tears flow out again.
There is one last sniff ...
Then silence.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Linnea Geenen


My Heavenly Mother
by Mary Esposito

The sun
Waves her dancing limbs
Sheltering my planet
And showering warmth
Upon the frigid corners
Of the world.
I bask in her glory
Absorbing her presence
Observing her radiance
Like an angel from Heaven.
The sun lifts me up
And cradles me in
Her rays of hope and light.
My heavenly mother
Always watching over me
In her golden kingdom bright.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Mary Esposito


Division II
(grades 6-7)

by Ann Zhang

In a disgraced and polluted city
near the old orphanage, where he grew up
the old man lives in half a cardboard box
and as they walk by they taunt him; tease his muddied clothes, the crooked way he walks
Their words become the wood to the fire of his suffering
But my dear, burning takes time, and he lives, not dead but dying
No one knows the old man’s name
they blow smoke into the air and explode with laughter around him
they shatter bottles of alcohol against the sidewalks
But despite their wretched doings, the old man gives
He gives every last bit of his life and pours it into those around him
He fills the empty hearts of the children, when their father is drunk in the cellar
and their mother ran off to some boyfriend’s party
He expects nothing in return for his tender deeds
The old man makes us wonder why we, those who have so much
cry in vain over such lesser things, so blind and ignorant
and those with empty pockets have fuller hearts
and love with more honesty than we could ever buy
Today, I think wistfully of the old man
as I throw a bitter rose onto his grave

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Ann Zhang


by Allison Regenwether

He was disgusting;
His nails grotesque and long as they raked through my hair;
His breath horrid as he breathed down my neck;
Close your eyes;
take a deep breath;
Open those eyes, but he’s still there;
He’s always there;
Always waiting, always watching;
Ready to pounce at any second;
Whispering as I shake;
Persuading me to quit;
To join him;
It would be easy, oh, easy would be nice;
His voice dripped with malign as his words grew;
Louder in my head;
I step forward;
His voice fades;
I clear my throat, I feel proud;
But he’s always there, always watching.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Allison Regenwether


by Eleanor Wikstrom

Past windows of filth where light struggles to breach
On a floor where hatred and turned heads
have bred cruel markings of 'the greater good'
Lies a woman under the deep sleep of oppression.
Ubiquitous on her skin is a barcode that lets the others know she's hopeless
In her dreams she calls out to the family she's lost
and wonders how she can get them back.
She remembers the forks in the road for opportunity
that were always closed when she reached them
A taunt that turned into bullying, bullying that turned into reality,
reality that turned into a dream.
The belaying rope snapped before she could reach the top
Hidden, like a diseased child, she awaits for a time to escape her bounds
Reveal her ferocious roar, a roar of injustice, lost chances, and a leader's fear.
To regain what she lost in a land where all the doors are closed
Possibility a Heaven that she will reach.
A woman, the unwanted meal of the justice system
Phosphorescent, shuddering with anticipation, smelling eternity

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Eleanor Wikstrom


Division III
(grades 8-9)

by Veronica Enierga

She was built upon concrete, compacted sand
The gilded metropolis with all its secrets hidden within flashing lights
Look stark naked to the penetrating eye,
Perversity, lingered in the dark alleys smelling like must and lust alike, the similarities
It lingered, the heavy perfumes that covered the city
Blocking God’s golden whips of fire that burned the clothes right off her,
Leaving her bare to stand before judgment, like Eve and Pandora before her
She let her streets run rampant, as if willingly, seducingly
Letting the poisons she calls wings burn through her veins, charring her to her roots
Now she stands in rubble, grotesque disfigured glass
No angels guard her gates of entrance, but all leave willingly
Alone, the metropolis cried displaying her atrocities to purify under the golden sun-
It was instant, leaving nothing but ash and dust in her place
Simply she disappeared, as if Death had not kissed her but consumed her with all her sins
Leaving nothing to grow but a single blooming 'shroom,
Gray, standing for nothing but for humanity in its most savage form.
Lying in dust she dreams, once she stood on concrete-

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Veronica Enierga


by Olivia Loehr

My hands move across the lines of yours, young on old, soft on scarred
I know these hands, they've played ‘go-fish’ and bandaged knobby knees
I know these hands, but I never really knew,
how these hands carried a young man's dreams
how they trembled when your father yelled, as you hid them in the pockets of your jeans
how the ring threatened to slip from your moist palms as you bent down on one knee
how your fingers shook as you held your daughter for the first time
how the sun beat down upon your back as you lay the bricks, to make a home
Every crease of your skin shows the strength it took to build a home,
to stay, and the courage summoned to leave, leave it all behind
To bury your broken dreams with the dirt of the land you loved
To begin again in a place of new language and new labels.
These hands, picking your pride off the ground
Scrubbing floors and painting walls
These hands carrying dreams, for your children, of your children
My hands, so small, so frail, rest in yours, so strong, so still
I hold this legacy, I hold my dreams, hands full with the promise of what waits for me

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Olivia Loehr


The Battle (A Dedication To My Mother)
by Emily Kosker

She enters the ring ready to fight
The battle will be tough, but she has God on her side
Determined and ready she gives the first swing
And with a powerful blow she knocks it down
But it bounces back up; it hits her hard
She stumbles a moment but doesn’t quit
Though tired and weary, she battles on
A warrior against a cancerous foe
She fights for her family; she fights for her life
We, the spectators, are all on her side
Looking at me, she gives a fearless wink
Then summoning all that’s left of her strength
There it is; the knockout blow;
This one is just for me

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Emily Kosker


Division IV
(grades 10-12)

Home Alone
by Brittany Loveless

Damp wooden planks lie staggered across the floorboard,
bent rusty nails keeping them in place.
she hides in the corner leaning; holding up what's left of the wall,
and it pushes back; holding up what's left of her.
hunched over with her knees molded to her chest, huge sobs rack her body,
taking over, like an irregular heartbeat.
gripping the picture, she'd do anything to go back to that picture,
that picture, no matter how it makes her mind scream in agony
torn along the edges, the slightly faded image marked in fingerprints,
covers up the deception of an 'All-American' family.
posed ... with quiet smiles plastered onto their silhouettes,
showcasing pearly white teeth, painfully positioned next to each other.
artificial laughter, suspended, in the air, in that moment,
to cover up the hushed lies that are so clear now that there's nothing else to see.
Strength drained from remembering the nightmare,
she regrets letting the weeds of lies grow out of the picture
and tangle in her reality … too late, once again.
The fire, thirsting for fuel, doesn't always get rid of the wood in the process of burning,
but scars it, scorches it, and then pushes it to the side
leaving a smoky reminder of what it never was.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Brittany Loveless


Bombay Slum Evening
by Shaloni Pinto

The old woman sits wobbling the child on her venerable frame.
Her paper hands cover the child's portly fists in a warm embrace
as she croons an age-old lullaby midst the russet red dust coating
the barren roads and the skeleton remains of a town,
now exuberant with hued and crowded tents.
The evening sunset sinks, trailing the woman's chair and animating her shadows
which  fall into haze of angled rubble and uncharacteristic putrescence that envelops the pair.
The  child gazes at the crinkled face of the woman,
warbling in tones only known to harmony of their off-pitch voices.
The blur of daylight combined with the screaming children and desperate parents
has assuaged to despondence visible in the yearning looks of the meager children,
who with bones sharply protruding from their bodies,
lay their heads on their mothers laps' dreading the days to come.
The nimbleness of the lullaby seems to escape the constricting air,
the mass of growing shadows, the rubble of an exhausted town
till all who are packed in clusters of weary masses attune their ears to hear
the nearest concept of a foreign notion named

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Shaloni Pinto


by Evan Fishburn

There she is, over there, the one outfitted in the artless gown
made of cotton, and the lace apron made of cambric – see her?
The one with the paperbound book balanced delicately on her knee,
with a good head on her shoulders and a pristine Bachelors in English framed on her apartment wall?
Yeah, that one, with the wispy white hair and limbs – thin and frail –
and the pallid skin and mellifluous features so delicate they look sketched on this very afternoon;
the one who wants to write for the – Times and get swept away by the success of her own anonymity,
and live in the city, and pass the Sunday markets
and buy a parcel of sweet rolls and honeydew and chrysanthemums (even though she's allergic);
she wants to stroll past the tuileries in April, wearing those designer shoes by –,
and pose for the flashing cameras in her mind …
See her hands tremble as she turns a page?
And her head turn toward the women entering from across the room?
She isn't like them, tied down to a reputation or a man who sells stocks.
No, she'd rather embark on an expedition of an extravagance worth keeping.
She'd rather be the nameless face, reading, alone,
afraid to lose it all.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Evan Fishburn


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