Poetry 99: Teens

Teen winners

Katharine Sherman

Katharine Sherman

Photo By Jason cassidy

First Place


I’m inside a building
With four walls and a door.
I do not really want to be in buildings anymore.

The building is a classroom
With eighty thousand desks
Laid out in rows before me, I’ll sit anywhere, I guess.

There are no other students.
There’s no one here to teach.
There’s only rows of seats that stretch beyond my vision’s reach.

I sit down and avert my eyes,
I cannot bear to look.
And suddenly I realize that I didn’t bring my book.

Katharine Sherman, 14

As one of the students in the first class of the new Inspire School of Arts and Sciences, Katharine submitted her poem as part of an assignment for her English class.

Kestrel Lira Carroll

Photo By jason cassidy

Second Place

Biology Romance

Is a lot like
Atomic bonds.

There are
Hydrogen bonds,
Weak and easily

There are
Ionic bonds,
Where one gives
And the other

Then you have
Covalent bonds
Where two atoms
Share electrons,
And two hearts
Share love.

Kestrel Lira Carroll, 14

Kestrel is no stranger to the CN&R’s writing contests. She took home third place in the Kids category in the 2008 Poetry 99 contest and had honorable mentions in previous Poetry 99 and Fiction 59 contests. She says she’s now trying her hand at novels.

Asharah WolfSong

Photo By jason cassidy

Third Place

Your Footprints in My Sandbox

I stretched the shadows between my fingers and around your neck
To keep you here.
You washed the sand from your hair and left your sandals on the deck
So I could still feel big when I walked in them.

Without your hand, mine felt so small
As the tide came in, your footprints in the sand
Fell away to nothing at all.

And when you were merely a boat on the horizon
Clamming bigger pearls
My shadows snapped
I forgot to unclench my fists and drop the umbras in my palms.
You forgot to teach me to sail.

Asharah WolfSong, 16

Asharah is a busy teenager. The home-schooled 16-year-old says she is taking general-education courses at Butte College while pursuing a degree in applied computer graphics. She says she’s more of fine artist than just a writer, yet this past spring another piece of her writing took first place in the Teen category of the CN&R’s Fiction 59 contest.

Honorable Mentions


barefooted up the monkey’s face
nestled in this place between night and day
communicating with This Star
my mind hangs low between far mountains

Socorro Wiley, 17

Grey in gravel

The water tower had an underbelly axially scarred
in stretch-marks of unaccustomed misbalance
withdrawn in girth, atop spindly, disproportionate legs

Grey Cat lounged in the thick gravel at the feet
having been the Pink Cat, pink as the rock
salt of the mountains, its color relinquished,
given over to the color gravel in which it lay

The sifting greys in low pinks
seep through skin and landscape
a weight from the sun diminishes and the light and sounds
grow into their origins

Celia Eckert, 16