Third Place – 2021 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students

Building Sandcastles

St. Louis Priory School

Inspired by Brian Fanelli

There is something soothing about starting anew
on the beach’s blank slate, the measured process of scraping out
a quarry to gather resources, dumping sand into flimsy
plastic buckets, placing them down and watching
your empire come to life, something soothing
about the way that lifeless, insubstantial grains
slowly coalesce with the splendor of something greater, standing
defiantly against the vast ocean, until you forget
the sun’s oppressive heat and brutal rays, the sea’s
corrosive touch, the aching of your body and sand plastered to your skin,
until you forget that the realm you tediously labored for
will soon crumble and be swept away by a casual wave
of nature’s hand, stepped on by strangers as an afterthought,
and you will have to leave it as the night approaches.