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Christopher Valdenegro Poetry Contest

The winners for the 2021-2022 Christopher Valdenegro poetry contest:

First place

Ava Greenway, Grade 11

The Covid Era

The air feels dewy and cold, 

yet it mingles with old cigarette smoke.

The food in the fridge smells like fish, 

as yesterday’s catch still lingers in buckets.

I am alone, I am bored, and adding two to the time,

as I trace the phone screen map through all 1,585 miles home.

When it is necessary to go out,

there is a flavor in the freezing air.

One that I forget until I am fully immersed in it. 

Deep breaths bring ice in my nose and lungs,

and that flavor, that taste, that feeling. 

It’s dry and painful like tobacco,

yet void of dust, heat, or fire.

It’s the twin flame cousin of the stale cigarette air of indoors,

and there’s a little irony in that it’s the only escape from the bother. 

Because although the outside is seemingly a refuge,

there is no gentleness in this fresh winter weather.

I don’t greet my habitat’s relative

unless I don’t have much of a choice.

So when it’s too cold to go out,

but too painful to stay in reality,

I let my mind wander and remember. 

And I regret; oh I regret 

and I loathe the circumstances of past, present, and uncertain future.

Second place

Mia Rodriguez, Grade 11

Motorcycle Vest

It was a birthday party of mine,

friends and family celebrating me,

turning nine.

Day turned to night

I heard a familiar noise,

Grandpa Steve’s motorcycle he said

was only for boys.

His vest caught my eye

it lay flat on the chair

and I took it.

I put on the vest and laughed

because on me it was more of a dress and a half.

I put my hands in the pockets

and dashed through the house,

Wearing his vest that seemed to weigh one hundred pounds.

I had never seen Grandpa Steve smile that bright,

the ring of blue of his eyes shined.

And on that one night

I never thought the day would come around,

When I had to watch him be lowered into the ground.

I like to remember him at his best,

which was him smiling so big, ear to ear

at the sight of me in his motorcycle vest.

 Third place

Alessandra Cuevas, Grade 9

Fall In Love  

Fall in love

Not with people,

Fall in love with rain,

Car rides with the music on blast,

The fresh smell of flowers,

The divine sunsets and sunrises,

Fall in love with yourself,

Fall in love with living,

Fall in love with feeling alive,

Fall in love with the life that you live