Heart Strings

It started with the doubt that gnawed in my mind to the core
then the searing self loathing leaving my soul in ashes
But it was the loneliness that enabled the
shears to snip strings to shreds

It sounds like your voice
tangled in my thoughts
The shadow of your arms
wrapped around my waist
It sounds like the tug of a smirk when you whisper
into my neck and me into yours
the feel of your fingers makes shudder
a look at your lips and my heart flutters
The way we’d lean into each other

After all we never went through

Ann Richards


Letting Go

Have you ever just wanted
To let go to not be here
That the feeling you have
Makes you feel miserable and not loved
That the thing you want
Could be deadly but you hold back

That feeling that you’re hated
Nor loved but also abandoned by everyone
You feel like it’s over
You imagined a world without you there
You think they will be happy
Because you know it’s a way out

In the end it’s truly
Extremely sad when it comes to that
Point in your life when
When you have made the choice to
End it all for yourself
Because you know that suicide’s right there

Postscript from DaneS’s mom:

He wrote it for all the people who feel bad but don’t have a voice to share. He did not write it about how he feels.

Perhaps his poem will spur conversation and let some child know there are others who struggle like they do and reach out.”



Proof of Fact and Lies

“It never happened”

The words are burnt onto my tongue
Its burn, a constant reminder of the truth.
An ache in your chest, a stinging in the eyes,
the flashbacks proof of fact and lies.

I hear sirens blare its sound throughout the hall,
yet I know they’re not there to save me.

The end is near, I fear, but with a final push,
I jump up, racing, the stairs growing nearer as sweat and tears blind me.

The resolution, I gather, will come as long as I don’t listen to those who yell,
“It never happened”

Ann Richards


The Last Drawer On The Right

In the bureau in my room

A stack of drawers sit atop one another

Filled Up With





Each drawer is likewise to the first

Except the last

The last drawer on the right is







Overflowing with


All the adolescent mess that make me, me

All the funny times

All the lessons learned

All packed into

The last drawer on the right




Past, Unknown

Tears stream down the unconscious child’s cheeks,
as her hair,
matted with dried blood,
flows gently in the harsh winter air.

Her mother’s arms,
loosely wrapped around the girl’s small frame,
are shaking with fear.

not for the innocence bleeding in her hands,
but for herself,
and her own clear conscience.

The destination grows nearer,
as does the child’s safety.

at last,
the mother walks in.

she hands the child,
her own flesh and blood,
blood that is now stained onto her hands, clothing, wall,
to a nurse.

The events that follow are vague,
as is what had occurred before.

Still, the truth is hidden in the family,
whispers and glances prove to be evidence,
and tears,
fact through the fiction.

All that is known will be revealed through time,
but, until then,
the child shall live her life without thoughts of her past.
Without the torment of not knowing the truth.

Blissfully unaware.

Ann Richards


Family is like a Tree

“Family” is old oak with long branches —
That stretch across many places —
And will crumble when one breaks —
And will continue to grow — and never stop —
And family — is everywhere — all around you —
And the pain must be in the breakage —
That could rip apart the family
That kept so many of us connected —
I’ve heard it in the earliest of day —
And the great dead of night —
Family is always around you,
just like old oaks and fresh pines.

St. Mark Lutheran School

8th Grade

Ocean Love

Ocean Love
I walked out into the ocean
Felt the water rising past my ankles, my hips, my chest.
Wave after wave
Furiously beating down
On my back
The salt water stings
But I open my mouth and tell her,
(the ocean)
tales of you anyway.
And after I have finished confessing
The salt in her body turns to sugar

Anderson High School


My First Kiss

Do you remember middle school dates?
Maybe you touched hands once while reaching for popcorn at the movie theatre
Or he got up the courage to hold your hand while you walked out of the ice cream shop
And didn’t drop it until his mom’s car turned the corner
And you spent the drive home getting interrogated by an intrigued off-duty PTA mom.
My most memorable middle school date was in eighth grade
With the very serious “boyfriend” I “dated” for eleven whole months.
We were three months into our little relationship before we left the texting-only trap
And decided that, because we were so mature, we should go on a proper date.
Our moms dropped us off at the Starbucks at the Domain
We window-shopped while drinking hot chocolate, and I stayed close to him for warmth.
We had our first kiss outside of Tiffany’s.
Our lips were so numb from the cold that it felt like kissing a dead fish.
The first thing I did afterwards was text my best friend. Back then, everything was so exciting.
We lived for stolen kisses and stories to tell jealous seventh graders,
And we knew it was real because we used the red heart emoji when we said goodnight.
Years later, when I text my best friend about a boy, “we kissed!” is not usually the content.
Freshman year, I lusted after juniors and seniors because they made me feel special,
Like I was better than the other girls because my hookups weren’t all legal.
There’s something about being 15 and being okay with feeling used,
Young enough to be naïve but old enough that the stakes are too high.
Innocence disappears in wisps, curling away like the smoke
From the joints we light on rooftops and at concerts and in our bathrooms with the fan running
So that we can forget what happens that night.
We watch it disappear into the nighttime air as we convince ourselves we wanted that
Or drunkenly search for our clothes on the ground.
And our virginities are like our childhoods: we want to be as far from them as possible
But letting go of that last doll is oddly hard.
No kid really knows how young they are.
And as I’m falling in love and starting to feel okay again,
Like I’m forgiven for my mistakes, like there is more to who I am than shame,
It’s hard to remember that not everyone will hurt me
The way everyone has before.
I don’t miss kissing outside of Tiffany’s, and it’s nice not having to get rides from our moms.
I want the middle ground: love without fear, lust without danger
And finally allowing myself to trust.

Anderson High School



I cannot breathe
But I don’t miss it

Breathing includes life and life includes living
Living ends in death and the prick of misery
It includes ends and beginnings and decisions I won’t make
That I can’t make

I cannot be
But I don’t care

I have walked this earth as a shell of a girl that I once knew
Who picked up petals to drop them from the tallest tower
Just to try and catch them when they fell
The shell of a girl who believed in the peace
or rather the peace of people
But was trampled by the elephant in the room

This girl could breathe
Would breathe if able
I’m supposed to breathe for her
To keep her memory alive as if she is the weight of a pebble in my pocket
But she isn’t a pebble, she is a boulder that weighs on my shoulders
She is the giant that came from the beanstalk
She is the beginning even if I wish she was the end

I can’t breathe
And I miss it

Anderson High School