by Rowan M., 15
Pain and beauty are all one
As the fair damsel awaits repose.
The chain, set free,
Sinks into murky shallows.
She looks out and sees her future with perfect clarity
As the boat drifts forward.
A land of marvels to never be cherished.
A moment of liberation to fade too hastily.
Fate shall come as it has been told.
She bears her defiance and all it brings.
Her visage is of elegance and sorrow:
Lip quivering with regret not fear,
Falling back into the quilted cage that once ensnared her,
Smoke dissolves into the air.
She says goodbye to her body
Full of anguish and labor,
Devoid of a soul.
She says goodbye to the man
Who pulled her from her prison,
Bestowing the gift of feeling.
She begins to say goodbye to the world
She longed to know.
For it looks so different
From the reflection she knew.
Even with eyes shut,
She finally sees its wonder,
As reeds brush together in soft gales
And tiny creatures scuttle across water lilies.
However, the end did not come.
Her breast still rose and fell with breath.
She moved forward to find the third candle
Little Silver, New Jersey
Notes from our interns on selecting this piece: This poem is lit by candlelight, guiding us through a solemn moment on a boat. Soft word choices juxtaposed stark realities. At times, it threatens to extinguish—but we end with a glimmer of light and hope.