2017 Youth Winners

Homo Sum

Before the whole of being lies unfurled
Infinity that we can understand.
I bear such pride of knowledge of the world,
Such terror yet to know my fellow man.
A race of great beholders with eyes sealed
Each at the apex of each single mind.
One opens up its wounds, lest they be healed
To cultivate the hatred of its kind.
And though the phoenix rose above the hearth,
Man still resides amidst that ashen filth.
They twist the stake into the flesh of Earth,
They tear and burn all human kind has built.
Perhaps but swine is all we’re meant to be.
I’m man; nothing we do surprises me.

Gene Masso
Somerdale, NJ

That Little Mirror of Mine

Some years ago, I used to have a mirror
And hung it on the wall beside my door.
I used to smile and long for nothing more
Than seeing that friendly face of mine was near.
But in the night, did vanity appear
And planted in my soul a prickled spore
That made me see things I did not before
Until I could no longer love the mirror.
The glass had turned a friend into a foe
The twisted shapes I couldn’t stand to see.
So on the mirror I painted flowers and snow
And from my twisted image, I was free.
Now after all this time I’ve come to know,
Those twisted shapes were never really me.

Emma Nasseri
Topeka, KS