Age: 15, Grade: 10
School Name: Hunter College High School, New York, NY
Educator: Derek Kulnis
Garden of Eden
Sun burns a pathway through fluid grass,
Filters past gauzy curtains into a dusty room, outsider in search of discovery
Lemonade spills on the sandy tiles of my garden,
Lily, daisy, sunflower,
When my eyes glaze over the petals drain, pour their color atop the sticky juice on the concrete.
In my memory you’re still a phone call away. Everything that once hung low sprouts upward,
From the soil of remembrance a jagged stem slashes through sod and all of the sudden
I take your hand again, I hold it tight enough to crush all your joints into fine powder that
Clings to my eyelashes and cakes the ground with cold.
Now that you’ve reminded me, set things into motion with the gavel of your hand
Atop a ramp, your fingers push the ball down down down down and
It meets its mark at the marble center of my pool, under the
Soft dome of lazy mosquitos, running water, ankles glistening.
Between trees, between me and you. Between the sheets.
I think I’ll see you later cause right now
I’m too tired to get the shovel from the shed, bury you again.
Tonight I’ll let you out but hurry home in the morning
Take the path behind the house, take care, take me with you.
Don’t come back, travel with the harvest of last August and the famine of this one
Pack your bag with the hourglass of our bided time, first the sand, then the glass, then the bandaids for when a shard slices open your own flowerbed for me.
Time well spent, time running its course. Time to go.
This time, next year: I’ll tell the story again, I bet.
For a friend, for example. For old time’s sake.
For my sanity, for the muted thumping under my thumb that only hums when
Seeds are planted, when crippled things start to bloom,
Yet again the weeds couldn’t smother you, here we go again –