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First Day -- poetry by Emerson Keen

The first day is always cold.

There is cider on the stove and in

your hands. The clouds pressing

hands against windows,

the trees are a group of mourners

encircling the house. Birds not

tossing down from the coal colored

skeletons anymore.


An ugly boy sitting at the edge of

the frozen pond. The clothesline is blank.

When the fish look up, which they cannot do,

they can see the sky of ice; the overlord

with no moon. Your fingers are

burning against the metal; the snow

in your eyebrows.


And I hope it gets messy,

that it’s love like dirt in the snow

or a fallen kingdom. Crying in

the cold; those flatlands that

have had the green pounded out

of them.


Winter is a burning fire, your

friend’s jacket at the doorway;

and when I say I love the cold,

what I mean is that I love a glowing table,

orange windows in navy abyss,

that I love feeling warmth

after its absence.


 

Emerson Keen is a junior from Decatur High School. Though she’s farther away from death than she is near to it, she’s overall pretty sure life is about love, and a couple other things like reading and laughing. In addition to writing poems instead of doing homework, she is fond of gardening, listening to music, and Mary Oliver. She is a district winner for Young Georgia Authors and was Georgia Youth Poet Laureate Finalist in 2022. She is perpetually grateful to her past and future teachers, as well as her friends and family for their love.

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