Raven Black


I have been like this ever since Kindergarten

I remember Ms. Honey

She was made out of daisies and sugar

The epitome of

Majestic unicorns galloping under a sparkling rainbow

Or what not

She spoke softly, sweetly

To a plump, sensitive boy

And I listened silently

Under the sounds peanut butter and finger painting

Don’t worry, Bruno

I think you are a bright kid

His muddy brown eyes were damp and sticky

Staring down at his fields of crooked letters

And chaos of number

She spoke once more

In fact, I’m sure you’ll be the President of the United States

White lies that stung like snow

Her words have deeply penetrated

Into his naïve mind

At that moment

Gaudy teal feathers that lashed out in every direction

He was the most flamboyant peacock

My laugh pulled me under the surface of


What is so funny, Thomas?

An innocent shrug

But green eyes framed with glasses

Pinned on to me

Oh, I’m not sure.

Not sure about what?

Well, Ms. Honey, I just don’t think that he will ever be President.

The inevitable gushed out

I think you’re just saying that to Bruno

So he’ll be happy and his parents might like you


I felt his feathers liquefy into a miserable

Pool of gray

And heard the hostile, yellow and black

Buzzing from Ms. Honey

Listen now child, it’s okay that you’re ignorant

You have to understand that in this world

Everything is possible

I exploded into laughter

If anything was possible

Why is Mama gone?


Every morning I

Walk a long, narrow hallway to Dr. Hickey’s office

Taking every moment

A breath, a step

I inhale the scent of

Cold turkey and nervous sweat

The smells unfold the truths of this rehab

This is a place

Located on the gloomy side of the city


Sinners are lost

Within a dark needle

Smoked and smoked ‘till they were Ravens

Hoping that their black, feathery lungs

Would fly them away

Dr. Hickey a giant net

Captures them in his grasp

Before they are lost in the above

Dr. Hickey is nothing but a shadow

Who looks at life through a tinted window glass

Appreciating the specks of sunlight

That illuminates a world that is otherwise


I live in that world

I am unsure, stupid

Incompetent with self forgiveness

My past haunts me with vivid scenes

Painted in blacks and whites

If only Dr. Hickey could see the light within me

I expose the first half of my story

Mama died as a knife

Fourteen years ago

On a night when the ice froze so thickly

Salmon and trout

Were trapped in its frigid chains

She burned and coughed

As the parasites gnawed through her lungs


I held her hand

Damp from cold sweat and fear


I whispered

Will you be fine?

I gripped onto her hand tightly

Our fingers locked

Like a beautiful woven promise

She looked at me for the very last time

With tears dragged back

By heavy eyelids

Don’t cry, Mama

She left a permanent scar on me

Stabbed me mercilessly

And although she died on that night

She kept her promise

Thank you, Mama

For being okay

It has been three short years with you

But I know you’ll guide me

For the very rest

With every tear that I’ve shed

The Lifestyle

Just me and Juliet

We are part of the fourteen percent

Running away to a teenage paradise

She is my sweet taste of presence

Her cold hands rested on my feverish forehead

I wake up on her dusty denim lap

Running long strokes down her blond hair

We enjoy every moment together

Through stolen bags of pretzels

And fast feet shuffling through large crowds

Brushing through every pocket and purse

For loose change and crisp bills

And then tossing every penny and every

Rusty ring on our finger

To feed our dirty habits

That litter all over our minds

We do this, regularly

Only because we love each other


Did you know the word heroin is derived from hero?

In our room, we would satisfy this monster

It begs us

Taunts us

Hazy pupils and popped veins

The slow slide of a metallic sting

Followed by the fast stream of blood cruising down

Icy pale skin and scar tissue

One Mississippi

Two Mississippi


Its fantasy kicks into gear

I carry a breathtaking, brass sword

That gleams so brilliant in the night

The mere sight of it bestows fear

Within the hideous monsters and vile beast

I fight them all off

With nimble slashes of my sword

And dexterous decapitations

Moments pass

In this precious trance

Until consciousness grabs me by the shoulders

Shaking me violently

Until saliva wells up

It tells me the reality I dread to hear

I just want to protect Juliet

Such is life


Juliet! Juliet!

Where are you?!

Tell me that you’re safe

Whisper it through the echoes of the city

Make a voodoo doll and stab me with your pins

Pray to Him and tell him to send down an angel

Just give me a sign that you’re alive

The rainy night doesn’t assure me

I could feel the eerie aura

The guiding voices and strangers lead me

To a small, worn-down motel

The letter L

On the bright red sign

Flickers and dies with every second

Room 323

I hold your hand

It feels just as icy cold as that night when you rested your palms

On my feverish face

I stare deep into your eyes

The same baby blue pupils

This time they seem more like plastic

Smooth like marbles

I untie the knot from around your neck

And prop you on a chair

I gently place my head on your familiar lap

Once again, for the very last time

Mama, take care of my sweet Juliet

Sophia Wang
Age 13, Grade 8
NYC Lab Middle School for Collaborative Studies
Silver Key

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