First Place – 2024 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students

“This exhilarating dramatic monologue holds much depth within its lines. Each delectably descriptive statement blooms like a wildflower, revealing the rich, historical blossoming of the ‘I’ and the world from which the ‘I’ has sprung.”

Elijah Burrell, 2024 Hopkins Contest Judge


Saint Louis University High School

I am from bay windows,
from asphalt scrapes and oven burns.
I am from old, rotting tree houses
swarmed with cicadas and
carpenter bees.
I am from her chocolate vine,
her cherry blossoms
that bloomed the sweetest pink
under April skies.

I am from 2:38 and 11:11,
from black cats and sidewalk cracks.
I am from dusty spotlights
        and lowered curtains,
from the end of the first act.
I am from tear-stained pillows,
        sixth-birthday cards, and
        taped-up mirrors.

I am from his record player and her tapestries
empty alleyways and lonely garden sheds.
I am from the backseat
        of my grandma’s car,
from ghosts peeking out of window panes.

Wildflowers bloom across my bare feet,
the once green hill now covered
in purple and yellow hues. Here,
the songs I sang as a child spill out
from my open mouth.
I am from these melodies,
from these delicate flowers beneath me.