Poetry Festival will be held:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2023 Winner


You know that feeling

That starts deep within your stomach

And bubbles up through your gut

And it feels like something is stuck

But not butterflies

More like wasps

That sting and strike until

You clutch your side and close your eyes

And reach through your mind to understand the source

of your unbridled concern

You choke, and cough and spit,

Desperate to relieve yourself of the incessant pain

You cup your hands and catch the fluttering creature

It looks delicate, and dainty,

Beautiful in a fragile sort of way,

But, when you hold it up to the light

The truth is exposed

An ugly, thrashing bug,

Vicious in its appearance and action

You freeze, unsure what to do,

With the grotesque insect before you

Instinct takes over, and without a second thought

You shove the hideous wasp between your lips

Feeling it sting all sides of your mouth,

you almost can’t bear to swallow it

You want to scream and cry

And give this undesirable organism to someone else

But you don’t

Instead you steel your nerves and squeeze your eyes shut and gulp

Forcing the wasp back to your stomach


Simra Javaid

Sidwell Friends School

Grade: 11


Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

Agatha Christie

Dream for the Future:

I hope that each person moves throughout their day with empathy for others

Inspirational Figure:

My mom