Boston (Milton Academy)

In Memoriam

He remembered the buckwheat cakes
his not-fun grandma used to make.
He hid his feelings in his pockets,
to be fed to the fattened dog later. He remembered
the sandpapery texture, and he felt
it again when his father told him to touch her hand where she lay
in the casket.
He wondered if the dog would be alright,
alone, surrounded by
unhappy ghosts.






Stockbridge (Monument Mountain Regional High School)

Turn-Down Service

Foil-wrapped chocolates pour from the box –
liquid fire, white-hot and bright.
Thump thump thump,
one by one they tumble, crash, collide into my basket –
filling it with light.
“Have fun, you guys!”
I run to start my shift.
Ka-thump! Ka-thump!
The cart bounces over the floor,
one fast turn, now another –
so hard to stay in control.
“Four-four two’s a walk-in!”
“Alright, I’ll turn it down!”
The lock springs open,
the door creaks in –
the eerie arc,
no light escapes.
The room is as empty as my head is not.
Two chocolates hit the night stand – quiet thumps following in their wake.
It hurts to hit the ground.
Pull down, draw back –
flip one over the other, once and once again.
The quilt folds in many sections.
Chink! The lock slides closed again,
and again, I glide away.




Westford (Westford Academy)

i'm smaller than yesterday

i am miscellaneous.

i have done this to myself.
i submerge, watching women
become smaller pause and
limbs turn to dust.

i force my body to play pretend.
curling backbone to knees, there is
blue liberation- i am thin!
the women i watch, they crawl
into the space between molecules,
their shoulder blades ripping my aching eyes.
i only wanted to be one of them.

discarded, too excessive,
i’m cold. there’s nobody here







Northampton (Williston Northampton School)


Alone on Bedford Street

Alone on Bedford Street in Williamsburg,
the sidewalk pulses with skinny hipsters,
nouveau-beatniks, organic aesthetes, hippies
clad in woolen capes and caps. Bedford Street
is about being cool. Bedford Street
is about contemporary art installations, minimalist furniture,
chic tenements dressed in cool street-art graffiti.
A kinky-haired man in a black turtleneck reads his poetry
as two girls share a cigarette and a scone
and a cat lounges on a blue stoop, stretched in the sun.
Outside a record store, the woozy throb
of blues fills the street: my baby left me whoa whoa.
I chew on licorice seeds and try to look mysterious. Here,
where the air smells like curry,
like sweat, like smoke; with the blink
of the windows above me, and the hum
of the subway below me,
I am in the world, in the world,
in the middle of the big, sexy world
on Bedford Street in Williamsburg.





Judge for 2007: Naomi Shihab Nye

The winner & finalists read their poems at the judge's reading at Smith College, April 3, 2007.