Honorable Mention – 2023 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students


Parkway South High School

We wrote letters to each other,
back and forth,
as if we’ve created our own little trade route
of words in place of goods.

I eagerly awaited your responses
to my never ending lists of philosophical questions,
as if i were Aristotle, trying to crack the code to life,
and you awaited oh so impatiently for my response
when you sent your essay-like letters.

I send you photographs of home and of our friends
while you sent photographs of new vivid places
and people i’ve never known,
your arms slung across their shoulders
like you’ve known them your whole life,
like those people have been there for you
when both of your lives turned into a living Tartarus.

My jealousy becomes comparable to that of Aphrodite’s,
and i begin to relieve myself of my sanity,
welcoming in a rage worthy of Ares.

We were once bound by the hip,
and inseparable as Damon and Pythias,
dear companions and founders of an empire.

That empire has since burned down,
i realized that once you stopped writing back,
when you found other companions
to accompany you for your future journeys.

But just because an empire has burned,
doesn’t mean it’s non-existent,
for the ruins still remain.