Sophie Tran

Sophie Tran

Third Place | Age 13-17 Category | Spring into Poetry Contest 2024 | San José Public Library

I'm underground; six feet deep.
Pitch dark.
Beset on all sides
by moist walls
Feels like I'm suffocating–
the pressure on my lungs.

The pitch smells of humus, earthy
I hear the muffled voices of teachers' lectures
My internal monologue berates me
about grades, beauty standards. The anger of regret, dejection,
thinking I could've done better, but didn't.

But opening my eyes,
looking around me,
The "coffin" feels lighter, unyoking me.
Air rushes through, and I can breathe again.
A strange light shines through the crevices.
And a hundred seedlings sprout beside me
as the humus matures, nourishing us.

We bourgeon in groups, in different ways,
breaking into the other side,
a grassy field,
an azure sky,
a morning dew.
The sun's warmth on our backs
reassures us that we were not buried.
We were planted.
Time brings clarity, perspective.

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