Second Place, Poetry: “A Walk Down Lafayette Street,” by Emmy Song
Grade 11, Montgomery Blair High School, Rockville, Maryland, U.S.
a walk down lafayette street
Girl in a white dress tracing steps
she’s taken a thousand times, but every
time her legs tremble a little harder and
breath catches a little faster. She walks
in linear time, maintains constant velocity
to upkeep a mask of surety, beating on
against the friction between past and
future. Because when she’s a blur of
movement, the world is in limbo and
her luck cannot run out. Foreign shadows,
abrasive stubble, and smoked cigarettes
lurking around corners—this and the
crude weight of a drunkard are what she
fears. Her topography, the delicate
folds of her cotton dress, to rob them
would be sacrilege. And she continues
walking, borne forward by pure conviction
that the rise and fall of the sun will keep
her safe, as it had in the past. Friction
distorts, past and present future fuse,
and girl, like arrow, still ceaseless.
Emmy Song is a writer and high school student from Rockville, Maryland. She speaks out about social issues, such as gun violence and women’s rights, through poetry and journalism. Her poems have been published in various print and online publications, including Blue Marble Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and Rattle Young Poet Anthology. When she isn’t writing, Emmy advocates for gender equality in STEM fields and dabbles in videography. She intends to study applied mathematics and creative writing in college, and later use her education and skills to continue pushing for social justice.
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