Please join us in celebrating our 2022 contest winners. We are honored to share their poetry and their stories.
OUR 2022 WINNERS
By Mridvi Khetan
Raining Red by Mridvi Khetan
I grew up believing that the rain is red.
Red like the scars mapped across my body,
gifted by a man who colour red embodied
Hot stew for all meals resembled the red sandstone,
which brother went to mine from blood-marked zones
Every day we took a bath in red water,
sourced from a brick well
Everywhere we were blocked by red tape,
sourced from bureaucratic cells
You see, red is omnipresent
It’s the colour of resistance but also the colour of our blood
Does this mean we’re born to resist?
I resisted red
but how can you, if all you see are corpses – dead.
A memory surfaces in my head,
how my sister was shamed monthly for her red
I can smell it too, you know
The red, a scent of my morning breath
Remnants of the wars fought by words I can only dare to speak in stealth
If red is the paint I’ve been coloured in, body and bone
It’s only logical to see my surroundings in the same tone
So when it rained the other day
“Ma, see it’s raining red today!”
In The Tide
By Emily BALCHUNAS
In The Tide by Emily Balchunas
He dragged himself out of bed
as the sun began to rise.
The seagulls were his alarm,
he rubbed the dreams from his eyes.
This lighthouse has seen some storms,
she sways in the night.
The wind whistles through her creaks,
but never seems to get inside.
Coffee soaked the air,
the windows let in the sunshine.
The ocean brings a breeze that shifts the house
from time to time.
The lighthouse was clean and knew his routine,
this presence of a man.
Her eggshell walls shined a bit brighter,
her lamp had a certain glisten.
She even seemed to stand a bit taller
as he occupied her land,
and with every rope he knotted
the wind would lift his hand.
The keeper of this structure was patient,
and he cared.
In the morning he’d sing to her
and at night he’d climb her stairs.
Clicking on her burning light
like brushing back her hair.
With a hot cup of tea
she thought they both would share.
Fall came and went,
every winter, time would freeze.
Every night he’d shine her light
for any ships lost at sea.
As the days would pass them by,
their nights together began to cease.
No matter how tall she stood,
she couldn’t bring him peace.
One day, the morning breeze came in
And the sun began to rise.
There were no coffee smells,
or sleepy groggy eyes.
Gone without a trace,
like he was taken in the night.
The lighthouse stood empty and still,
with his memory held inside.
Dare I to say to this very day
as the sun is sure to rise,
her eggshell halls and walls will wait
to dance with him again in the tide.
Do You Remember?
By Robert Watt
Do You Remember? by Robert Watt
Do you remember the Christmas ball?
Your hair worn up above its wispy strands
And swinging jewels that kissed the neck
Cool and scented with the musk of foreign lands
You rose from a dress the colour of your lips
Plunged a neckline that drew the hungry eye
Onto the eggshell curves and the teasing split
long though never quite revealed the thigh
Do you remember Trafalgar square?
Rushing to the front, running with the madding crowd,
High on passions that quickly gave to laughs or tears,
A rebel stance and voice exuberant and loud
You were strong and lithe, danced into the night,
Filled with beans for a life come recently mature.
We lit candles at both ends and did it all,
Having time and energy to spare for more.
Do you remember Fridays after work
and weekend afternoons lost in sin?
We’d toss our clothes, fall carefree in a fumbling yearn,
Hands buried in hair and greedy for a touch of skin.
We did it all together, hardly left a day apart,
With nothing but ourselves for warmth but happily,
Scraping pennies for bills and budget meals,
Slowly making house then family.
Do you remember how we got so old?
Our faces fell and hair tuned thin and grey.
Focus shifted nearer, the youthful fires cooled,
While the world unnoticed moved away.
We slowed, quietened by relentless years,
Congealed into the people we portrayed;
Staid companions, content with holding hands
Creaking and groaning into life’s denoting fade
About Mridvi, Emily & Robert
first place winner
Hi everyone! I’m Mridvi Khetan (also go by MK), a soon-to-be 19-year-old poet from New Delhi, India. I’m a sophomore at the University of Chicago studying psychology, economics, and creative writing. My two major hobbies are writing and singing. I manage an online blog on Instagram (@the_black_swallower) for my poetic musings. Funnily enough, my earliest writing endeavour was a grudge book where I wrote down all the things my older brother did to irritate me. Soon I realized I had a flair for writing. Growing up my favourite poem was “Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson. Reading the works of poets like her really influenced the way I write.
Through ‘Raining Red’ I wanted to portray the ways in which trauma ages people faster. And how trauma strips the innocence from some of the most enjoyable and basic phenomena, in this instance rain, for people who experience it at a young age.
second place winner
I was born and raised in the 4 corners area and have always loved Colorado. My love of writing was gifted by my grandmother and cultivated by my mom and English teachers, and I have been writing poetry since high school. The past decade has brought a lot of pain and within that pain has come growth, and within that growth lies poetry. Art in all its forms has been a therapeutic tool for me ever since I was small. Never would I have thought that people would find joy in what I write as much as I do. I truly am honored to be able to share this poem with the world.
Happiness is not the goal; it comes and goes just like anger and sadness. The goal is to create as many happy moments as possible. Poetry provides that vehicle. Stay present, friends.
third place winner
I was born in the South of England and trained as an Engineer but I’ve always loved writing and travel. 10 years ago, I went to China to teach English. In a stroke of luck, I got a job at a university teaching English writing and also as a freelance writer for a magazine aimed at the local expat community. The writing lessons I gave and the practice from producing articles every month were a great learning platform for me. Writing about China gave me an incentive to go places and to try new things. It made a huge difference to my experience and understanding of the strange culture and immense changes occurring.
I returned to the UK this summer, back to Engineering but with an on-line portfolio of experiences and a drive to keep producing and improving doing what I love, wherever and whatever my next adventure is.
Competitions like One Page Poetry are really important as they provide an opportunity to get feedback on my work, see what is currently popular and valued by professionals and to read other budding writers stuff – It’s an essential part of my continuing development.”