2022 Winner

how i fell for fifteen years
and somehow didn’t notice

      often i think that growing up

is just a series of little deaths

one after the other after the other

and that each day i uncurl from a new

cocoon of tangled sheets

and weepy eyes

to create myself anew

my skin the canvas, my sweat the paint

pheromones for color, tears for depth

i could glue together angel wings out

of fabric scraps & scribbled notes

with all the words i have not said for paste

and fly away on the same old twine

that held young icarus against the sky

before he plummeted & disappeared

so fateful & so young beneath

the sun’s uncaring, jaundiced eye

i am falling; my strings are wearing

& soon, so soon, too soon

i will have to find my own terrible bottom

to stand upon.


Isabel Avidon

Georgetown Day School

Grade: 9




Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

I’m making my first foray into the writing of Kazuo Ishiguro, which I’m really enjoying. My longtime authorial loves, though, are J.R.R. Tolkien, Neon Yang, Maya Angelou, Alexandre Dumas, Frank Herbert, Jacqueline Woodson, and Karen Russell.

Dream for the Future:

I wish that more people see how wonderful they are, how wonderful we all are. We have so much potential for kindness and goodness that we’re not using yet. And I wish too that more people awaken themselves to the crisis our planet is having. If we destroy her, we destroy ourselves. But I think we can be the generation that saves our world, if we act soon. There can be no other choice, I think.

Inspirational Figure:

Aurora Aksnes. She’s a wonderful musician from Norway. And Lucy Bellwood, who is an adventure-cartoonist and a very lovely human being.