Poetry, Grades 7 – 9: First Place

12th Avenue — Hannah Bernstein

City lights running

against dark houses, bathed

in the glow of the yellow

streetlight. Sitting on the corner of

56th and 12th, I’ve never felt so alive

as I do right now.

the dust in the air breathes

me and illuminates

speckles of time, spread out

over a millennia of voices.

speaking in unison, saying

you can run away from

12th avenue, far into the light

but there’s something

about this place, here, now.

my soul’s tied up in here,

my cold, ghostly breath stays here, now.

on the corner of 56th and 12th.

still breathing, illuminating.

and sometimes, that darkness beats,

one, two, and it pings, like a

bell, a door, an alarm, a warning.

a sign, a call, a cry.

here, now, 56th and 12th is

breathing in you, me, here, now.

past the glowing circle made by that

streetlight. There may be only that

darkness, beating.

but somewhere, out there, here, now

12th avenue waits.