The woods — a still atmosphere
Yet teeming with life under the surface,
The gnarled tree branches,
The moist ground underneath,
The decayed perfume fragrance,
Tumbled in the breeze.
We moved forward,
No direction in mind,
Following a course that was not predetermined,
Shoes barely making a sound,
On the slippery glistening leaves
That did evince we were even there.
Carried the scent of unseen life,
The air vibrating with their noise,
A foreign energy in their home.
The trees’ branches,
Reached toward the overcast sky
Like skinny fingers,
wanting a cloud,
An occasional leaf
Hanging on, not wanting to let go.
Our muscles ached in protest
As we ascended the boulder splattered with lichen,
Our long hair sticking to our faces,
A sigh of relief —
No — accomplishment, as we reach the top,
The striped blanket
Bringing bright color to an earthly pallete,
We settled down and unpacked our bags,
Blueberries, sandwiches, juice pouches, watermelon, pasta salad,
Rested on the fabric,
Peanut butter on her chin,
My laugh resonating through the still atmosphere
As the woods seemed to join in.
Isabel Bautista was a 15-year-old high school sophomore when she wrote this poem. She lives in Massachusetts and loves playing soccer and traveling.
Artwork by Eleanor Goetz created when she was in 11th grade. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.