Somewhere that bird holds the scrap of my name,
Somewhere troubled hearts will sleep all the same,
Quiet sleepers in the quiet earth.
She holds the city night and a bag of stale chips.
And rubs the last of the red off her lips,
And wonders how it got smeared in the first place.
But that doesn’t matter when the sunlight’s marmalade,
And the children are told that their nightmares will fade,
And the air smells like backyard swings.
Someday I think I’ll have a house all my own,
A house like the moon and day old cologne,
All strung up with lanterns and lights
The sky is fading twilight to mock-black,
Red and gray, like a runaway knapsack,
Like a small child’s trembling sigh.
Once upon a time I believed in Amtrak trains,
Alaska dawns and overnight planes,
But now all I believe in is streetlights.
I have a ballerina in a black lacquered case.
With eyes shining like a slave mother’s last embrace,
Tinny plinks in a forgotten cobweb room,
The perfect girl on her fanciful stage.
Katherine Snoddy, Age 13, Grade 8, Birch Wathen Lenox School, Gold Key