2020 Youth Winners

uncomfortably numb

numbness feels like heaven from the start
no crying, and no bumbling explanations
a band-aid over all the broken parts,
a masquerade of happy revelations
laughter starts to put your teeth on edge,
only draining precious sands of time
between your joie de vivre there is a wedge
cutting circulation, in its prime
awaken, birds yell from the window sill
as sun pours in and blinds the former void
tranquil runs through limbs, a pleasant chill
a waterfall nirvana now employed
waves begin to settle, clouds to clear
and sadness brings its long-awaited tears.

Julia Biller
Westlake, Ohio

Beyond my Realm

What lies beyond the edge of this great sight?
My ever-roaming eyes shall never know.
For while I walk to find its wonders bright,
The edge walks on, as if to hide some glow.
But I am stubborn in my newfound quest,
And will not stop with such a curious mind.
Until my eyes can see they shall not rest,
And I’ll walk on forever ‘til I find.
And if a jungle sometime blocks my course,
I’ll climb up through the trees beyond to see.
And if I find myself in ocean’s force,
I’ll swim until the edge swims back to me.
And as I chase that line as though my helm,
Someday I know I’ll see beyond my realm.

Annika Myrup
Lexington, Kentucky


I speak of music ringing in my ears.
The language universal speaks to me.
I love to make and hear; it calms my fears.
It can be loud or soft; be calm or free.
Piano, forte; bar and measure filled.
It’s passion stuffed and picks you off the ground.
When music plays, all doubt in me is killed,
Then people sing and others dance around.
But when some music plays, then tears arise.
These can be tears of joy, but not always so.
When music plays and people wipe their eyes,
You know it touched their heart and tears may flow.
Since tears aren’t always bad let music play,
And maybe you’ll find some that makes you stay.

Rileigh Olson
Onalaska, Wisconsin