Last week, the SMUS Review reported our success at the Ripple Effect student writing competition. This week, we are showcasing some of the pieces that were acknowledged by the judges. Poems are included in their entirety and complete versions of stories are contained on separate pages.
Annelies Bekes – Longing
Daniela Loggia – Ode to Chris de Burgh
Francesca Bianco – Circus Fever
Emily Bridger – Flight
Peggy Hogan – Leave Your Guns at Home
Dani Ward – Dream Mobile
She woke up yesterday
with cotton sheets wrapped around her toes.
She drew her lollypop pink nails
across her lips,
tracing their upward curves.
Now she drags herself
across the carpet to a window
where she sits and watches the horizon
until the light is sponged from the sky.
Tonight she dreams of summer,
popsicles melting down her fingers,
lemon zest tea sipped slowly
as sand polishes her toe nails.
Children with daisy chains around their necks
catch fish as grey as rain
in rusty tin buckets,
while others draw on the sidewalk
using shards of burnt logs for chalk.
She remembers overcast summer nights,
socks soaked in dewy grass,
and follows the forget-me-nots under the hedge
until, blinded by the charcoal confetti from the bonfire,
she sits sharing worn wool blankets,
nostrils heaving with the smell of marshmallows and hickory,
a harmonica cadenza played
with a rough hand against her cheek
by lips that taste of pine and pitch.
Ode to Chris de Burgh
I remember Sunday school-
A woman peeling children from their parents.
Past their gazes,
Past the pews.
Into the carpeted room
We were seated,
We were asked to pray for those who had passed,
So that angels could show their souls the route to heaven,
For in those days,
In our eyes,
All were worthy in their judgment.
I also remember New Years-
Playing poker with my grandparents,
Since I was six,
Sinks draining the strategies into my memory.
I was taught the game well.
So you ask me what poker has to do with Sunday school,
What gambling has to do with religion?
Almost as much as a Spanish train.
For I have chosen.
I have kept my distance from the tracks,
I have hidden the lamb from the slaughter,
And I have washed the blood from my front door,
Yet as I did so,
No angel came upon me.
No death surrounds me.
Am I to wager my life on the price of my soul
When I cannot see the dealer nor the man who raised?
Unlike the six year old Catholic,
My door now glistens,
And my sheep lives.
I left because I wanted a fairy godmother
and an emerald carriage,
But she spun me into a carnival instead.
In the mirror
I went blue and red
I cried lemon drop tears
The Ferris Wheel stood still in time,
and I wasn’t going anywhere.
I squeezed through the carnies and disappeared,
and roared my roller coaster
through the forest of sweating acrobats.
Show masters cursed as seething tigers
lunged against leashes.
In the audience I sat behind the boy
with fluorescent eyes.
The red velvet curtains slid open
to reveal my secrets on stilts.
I rode my amusement-park mind
past the fortune-teller’s tent
I slogged through the magic mud
with my eternal Admit One pass,
and I know this sounds sad but
I liked being a circus:
the gypsy dance—
pushing me into the
hotdog hustle and
cotton candy clouds.
I climbed on one of their bubble gum pillows and
across my paraded memory
I watched the four year old me
clinging to daddy’s ankle,
screaming for the stuffed dinosaur I won
but could not keep.
the Salt & Pepper shaker
flinging kids into silicone bushes.
you through my crystal ball and
you said I was like a child.
I am a child,
I’m the singing trolls bouncing
beneath my palms like
I puzzle this problem together
Because I am the Roller Coaster Tycoon,
the snow cone artist,
the popcorn connoisseur,
the old man with bifocals sitting
on the edge of my memory-go-round and
I’m the PA system that announces,
“We will be closing in ten minutes.”