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2019 Poetry for the HART Winners    

Author: Sarah Choudhary
Walt Whitman High School 
Grade 12th

All That’s Left
Bleached corals
Of a once Great Barrier Reef 
And remaining wreckage
Of a once cheerful school bus in Yemen
Make me wonder
If disillusionment
Is a rite of passage.
Although I cannot revive
White bands of dead tissue
Or resurrect Innocents
From the rubble
I can ring the bells of human decency
To preserve and protect
All that’s left.

Author: Allison Wine
Northport High School
Grade 11th

Dear Body
Skin lined with streaks and memories
Of past acts I have tried to do.
Dear  Body,
I have betrayed you.
You continued to bloom like a flower
as I tried to bury you in my backyard.
You evolved to harden like ice
As I tried to drown you in my sink.
A shriveling shape shifter
as I forced the skin to shrink,
tight against metal  bones
Like the plastic wrap I put
On the meals I do not eat.
I open my mouth once every ten days
To speak.
I stare into the mirror every day,
For it reminds me that you are not clay
And that I am not a sculptor
But I Can chisel away at your teeth.
You are a penny piece-
Copper in a sea of silver luster
How come all I do 
Is shove you in a mold?
Maybe next time,
Ill adorn you with gold.
Ill pick the clothes you wear
With shaking fingers.                                               
Dear Body,                                                              
I have betrayed you.                           

Author: Julia Kopp 
Cold Spring Harbor High School
Grade 11th

"Internal Implosions”
Sometimes I like to write pretty little poems
about the stars or flowers or the click clack of my typewriter.
I like to show them to my parents and my teachers and my friends.
It’s as though they’re proof of something:
look at my pretty little poems! I am a pretty little girl
and I have a pretty little mind
and I live in a pretty little world.
Those poems are a  half  a story.
They do not speak of when I look at the glass bottles
scattered throughout my room
that I’ve painstakingly collected
( two from a vintage store, one from a jug of chocolate milk,
a wine bottle, a Snapple bottle…)
and feel so desperate that I wonder how they’d  look shattered on the floor
( wonder what sound they’d make,
wonder which would break into the smallest pieces).
Sometimes I feel this ache inside,
and I look at the pretty little poems I wrote,
and I want to burn them, want to see their  pages curl
from the heat, want to smell the smoke.
I read them, and I hate them,
hate them for being pretty and little
when I feel so ugly inside
that such a thing
could be nothing but a lie.

Author: Jaycee Cardoso
Walt Whitman High School
Grade 12th

I need to cut this down
before it  overgrows.
This place is too small
For perennials to live in.
My soul will never be  evergreen,
because I’ve learned that
dead heading
Only encourages more budding romances.
It is so easy to pine over the sweet soils. 
In me I have germinated
A sturdy stem,
And prune back
The red roses
That weigh on it..

Author Rebecca La Manna 
Walt Whitman High school
Grade 12th

Cauliflower Pancakes
41 days after his passing we sat around the crooked wooden table blanketed in tinted macramé and feasted on cauliflower pancakes.
Like a kaleidoscope, I stare through the crystalline dish which houses the floral centerpiece.
A dying lily clings to the edge begging to be plucked off its sadistic stem.
I try to edge forward in my seat but the neon green carpet paralyzes the antique legs of my chair.
Scents of moth balls, air freshener, and fried flounder mingle in the air, filling my nose like an unsavory perfume left on the shelf.
Slowly her petite hand rises to her neck, folding over itself.
She clutches the six pointed star and looks up as if expecting rain to fall.
We adjourn to the living room, and as the grandfather clock chimes I am alerted to the unending hour.
She shifts in her seat, crinkling the plastic beneath in fruitless efforts to gain comfort.
I watch the tear fall from her eye, then bead up and roll off the hydrophobic cushion.
I too sit on the couch and think.
I do not wish for more cauliflower pancakes.
I know our next encounter will be under similar circumstances

Author: Deanna Tabibzada
Walt Whitman High School
Grade 12th

I may be contained-
But the warmth that I produce spreads to
every corner and heats
every sleeping child and soothes
every un-socked toe
until I have consumed the wood beneath me 
In its entirety,
burning myself out in a very literal sense-
waking my family to a cold– floored morning
until night falls and with some help,
I am born again.

Author: William Valle 
Walt Whitman High School
Grade 12th

Lost But Not Gone
Blistering heat-
but no sunscreen on.
Youth’s limitless tank,
as my father waters the dead grass.
A child’s best friend,
the oscillating lawn sprinkler,
reaching end to end of the yard.
Running into the rainbow mist,
landing in a distant dimension.
Puddles of mud surrounding the site:
T– shirt was white.
Water jet’s fingers brushing my hair
and tickling my ear.
Leaping, tumbling, without a care.
Where did the energy go?
How does one get back that innocence?
Summer days now spent in front of a register.
Corrupted mind filled with opinions of others.
The kid spirit lost in the masses of this big world,
waiting to be rediscovered

Name: Karina Lew
School: Walt Whitman High School
Grade 12th

Circling You

I circle you,
            way up high.
My raven black feathers flap in the frigid air, 
waiting for my next meal.
can not see the life you provide,
when your ends.
You lie lifeless,
while the flies, fungus, and worms, 
become your only connections to the living world.
I circle you, 
               way up high.
Living on the legacy you left behind.

Author: Katherine Gotard
Walt Whitman High School
Grade 12th

From La Catrina
She sweeps across
red canyon rock
and through coyote bones
moving between
ivory sand
and indigo.
Tickling marigold
petals whistling
against twisted stone
she settles in dark places.
Calavera paint
melts against
the dancing fire
and is wiped
away with
her fated kiss-
For her
There are no names
there are no faces
we are all skeletons

Author: Julia Kopp
Cold Spring Harbor High School
Grade 11th

Shattered Scoliosis
I am twelve years old, and I am a broken glass that doesn’t spill onto the floor
only because of the full-torso brace acting as a mold.
The moment I  got it, I shattered ,
and suddenly the reason for my undoing is also
the only thing keeping my broken shards from being scattered.
Abs of steel, my friends jokingly call me, reaching out to feel
the hard plastic covering my body.
I laugh, buy I think a part of me draws strength
from the idea of turning the source of so much vulnerability into some sort of superhero-esque invincibility
I am fourteen years old, and no amount of jokes from my friends
can hide my broken shards from myself (neither can my brace; their sharp  edges begin to wear holes through its plastic).
I try so hard not to show it on my face, 
but the word scoliosis makes me want to vomit,
and I’m tired of seeing my friends all wear varieties of the classic summer sundress while I’m stuck in t-shirts and shorts two sizes too big
to accommodate for the plastic monstrosity creating such a mess.
I’m sixteen years old, and I suddenly don’t have to wear the brace.
It’s the news I’m dying to be told, but somehow don’t know how to be without it, and all of a sudden my broken glass is spilling all around me.
I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because
oh no I don’t have the brace on how could I forget what is wrong with me?
And it’s summer which means beaches and bathing suits,
and now without my spine being forcibly straightened,
I can see my scoliosis in the hip that juts out more than the other
( “You can’t even see it !” according to my mother),
and its almost worse than the brace I could take that off, but this? This stays.

Author Kayla Andrews
Walt Whitman High School
Grade 12th

We pulled up curbside in front of the house after dark.
The house was watching me,
eavesdropping in on me, and waiting for me 
to leave you.
I turn to look at you only to get  locked
and rooted into your stare.
Kaleidoscopic emeralds seamlessly
reaching into mine as our hearts and blinks sync.
Car alarms trying to get our attention,
crickets just looking to have a chat,
the wind tentatively knocking on the window of the car door,
passing headlights briefly challenging to break our tender, tenacious gaze.
Fiber strands split as I struggle to close the car door
and am slowly pulled back through my front door
but the cord never snaps.
It’s just stuck under my welcome home mat.

Author: Cali Sullivan
Walt Whitman High School
Grade 12th


Smeared lip-gloss and cherry stems are the little things that pinch
At his skin
Whenever she waltzes into his train of thought.
Familiar scent of her newports
Stains his jacket, the lingering smell
Of smoke wraps him in a cocoon
Of her ghost.
The stems tied into knots in his coat pocket,
Rolled in between his fingers
To touch what remains of her.
For she is merely a distant green light
Across the calm water, her silhouette
Dancing in the midnight august air.                                                        
his vision grows dim, but he continues to squint harder ,
eyebrows furrowed
as he searches for her spirit in the mist around the 
blinding, pulsing light.

Author : Cali Sullivan
Walt Whitman High school
Grade 12th

coffee ring stains
on old, fading letters
that professed something 
we no longer share.
sloppy script dancing on the note
what remains of you.
I wither away with the dated paper,
as you were the siren that lured me in.
your song of static white noise
unable to be silenced.
you are what rings in my ears,
remaining in my head the way
bruises linger on skin.
you are the tainted blood that erotes 
my veins,
as I am unable to filter out your venom-
unable to filter
what remains of you