2020 Winner

A Pipe Cleaner Pantoum

I remember only pieces of my childhood

The way I remember pieces of that podcast I fell asleep to last night,

The way I remember pieces of that lecture during which I only doodled in curls,

The way I remember pieces of that movie I watched in Portuguese that one time.

 

The way I remember pieces of that podcast I fell asleep to last night,

I remember sitting in a flimsy chair in the front of the beauty parlor.

The way I remember pieces of that movie I watched in Portuguese that one time.

I remember the crisp sound of scissors and the delicate fall of crescent hair.

 

I remember sitting in a flimsy chair in the front of the beauty parlor,

Braiding pipe cleaners to pass the time.

I remember the crisp sound of scissors and the delicate fall of crescent hair,

And the expected frustration of the pipe cleaners’ permanent curl.

 

Braiding pipe cleaners to pass the time,

Blue, white and black.

And the expected frustration of the pipe cleaners’ permanent curl

Comes from the fact that—

 

Blue, white or black—

No matter how many times I press the fuzzy wires between my thumb and forefinger,

There comes the fact that

The pipe cleaners will always be wrinkled.

 

No matter how many times I press the fuzzy wires between my thumb and forefinger,

No matter how many times I try to iron them straight,

The pipe cleaners will always be wrinkled,

Not the smooth, straight line that slid from the box.

 

No matter how many times I try to iron them straight,

I remember only pieces of my childhood—

The way I remember pieces of that lecture during which I only doodled in curls—

Not the smooth, straight line that slid from the box.

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Giselle Silla

Georgetown Day School

Grade: 12

Hometown:

American University Park, Washington, DC

Birthplace:

Arlington, VA

Favorite Author or Book:

Ross Gay

Dream for the Future:

To inspire social change through writing

Inspirational Figure:

My high school’s theater director, Laura Rosberg