Poetry Contest Winners
The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month
By Ryan Bowers
The eleventh day of the eleventh month is a day of commemoration
For those who sacrificed themselves for our great nation
For the soldiers young and old
Who fought for our freedom, brave and bold
For those who paid the ultimate price
To keep our nation a paradise
The eleventh day of the eleventh month is a day to recall All of those who answered the service call
While we were at home watching TV
They were in scenarios we would all certainly flee
The eleventh day of the eleventh month is a time to pause
To think of those who fought for the greatest cause
For the soldiers who
Kept on fighting to protect the red, white, and blue
For the men and women who fought for our rights
And continue to fight through days and through nights
The eleventh day of the eleventh month is a time to remember those who fight for the common name
Without them, our country wouldn't be the same
The eleventh day of the eleventh month is a time to reflect
And remember the unsung heroes who deserve our respect
Those who have lived and those who have died
That deserve all of our pride
Those who have served on land and in sea
In order to keep the United States free
By Sabit Alam
"Rosalie Elisabeth Perdue."
Three simple words on metal
Mom's smile hiding there
Waiting for me
Like the first time she remembered to come home, hands outstretched:
Her hair smelled like rosemaries.
Papa's hand clenched mine,
my fingertips pink, pink, blue
the pain numbed
— time always numbs pain —
but the cold stayed, pierced.
It froze the world into silence,
stinging deafness after a gunshot.
Papa's fiery laughter, the warmth of his smiles: they're gone.
Flames extinguished by the rain.
The two of us a lonely funeral,
Lost in the flood of mourners.
Lined up against the wall,
fingers pressed to the fogged-up silver
— maybe they're like me,
searching for the familiar shape of an R, an 0, an S —
bundled up in coats, oblivious to the biting wind,
all in the name of searching for a name,
What's in a name?
Sometimes too much to be bared:
too much to explain why our third plate at our table is always empty,
too much to offer recompense for the years of missed Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easters ...
— No, too much to be held in three words.
Too much to be held.
Tomorrow, it will have been thirteen years since Papa first took me to the Wall. We go every year.
I'm always sure to leave flowers for her,
just under her name,
"Rosalie Elisabeth Perdue."
By Victoria Santos-Blanco
She walks with her head held high,
Never going to drop it.
Her black hair, darker than a night sky,
With white streaks painted like stars
Curl down her back into cascading waves.
All for my own good. She was my first love, First arms I hugged,
First person to wipe my tears. She's everything.
Everyone treats her as if she is their servant,
Not knowing the pain she's going through to cook Every single night.
She started out with nothing and built up her way to everything.
Her mother brought her to America to escape from
Gang violence in her own neighborhood.
All she had was her husband and a three-year old girl,
A girl who was oblivious of the pains in life.
A girl who she will protect so that she won't suffer as much as she did.
She was going to be a lawyer,
Have a bright future.
About to be the first in her class.
Couldn't pay to stay,
She left so she could have money to pay for her brothers' education Because to her, they were more important.
Now, she does everything so that her little girl can reach the dreams that she was never even allowed to make.
They never see her cry,
Or break down;
Though her aching joints make it harder for her to even work.
She's an immigrant, and even after 13 years
She is still made fun of because of her accent. She doesn't seek revenge,
She prays for them, so that they can learn to not be ignorant and realize that
Some people don't have everything handed over to them.
Some people actually have to work hard to get somewhere.
She wanted to be a lawyer.
She settled for a kindergarten teacher. "I love my job." she says.
I know you better than that. I've known you forever. She says that she's satisfied,
But her eyes tell a different story.
Her mindset, her perseverance, her words They make the perfect verdict.
She isn't affluent.
We get by how we can.
We may not have much, but we are happy.
She shows me how to be kind,
How to have courage,
How to ignore the racist comments and just get by the school day without talking back.
But most of all she doesn't know how to give up.
And all of those characteristics, all of those screams and yells to make me a good person, All of those pep talks, all of those little white lies so I won't have to worry,
All of that is what makes her
The only person I would ever want to be my mother, That's what makes her