Rochester Century High School
He’s An Unshaved Alcoholic Martha, You Can’t Boil That Away
He trails shattered glass,
Birds scatter through the sky as he passes.
He growls at their squawks,
he growls back at the quiet house.
Her lip bleeds in falling droplets,
as she watches him shrink
down the runway of black pavement.
She yanks the string,
closes the blinders,
shakily slices potato.
Each chop slides smoothly
through blotchy skin,
hot butter drips over the sections.
She calls little Tom and Suzie
from the locked room.
they assemble around the vacant seat
at the head of the table.
The aroma of burnt lemon tart stifles them.
They choke for an eternity on thick potato salad
lodged in their throats.
How To Eat Breakfast After Your Dad Dies
There’s a lone plastic desk drawer
in the corner of the storage,
encased heavily in dust.
My mom bends over,
hauls it to my room.
I stare at the brown scratchy carpet
showing through the bottom.
Refuse to touch it for a few days.
I slide it open,
Tug and tug and tug,
they’re patiently peering up:
Hundreds of them.
torn on the sides.
A child’s scrawl in crayon — “Sorry yor dad’s ded”,
a crayon stick figure
over a tombstone.
I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry.
in its pockets,
multi-colored sticky notes.
“I loved his firm handshake” Love, Sherry.
“He had the best laugh” Susan.
My hands tremble,
rears up my raw throat.
His reddish-brown hair,
in a sealed Ziplock bag.
are all they amount to.
I just wish I could picture them on his head.
His surgical glasses,
shakily I put them on.
They perched on the tips of his ears.
He closed throbbing hearts in these.
Could someone do that for me?
I carefully place
sheets back into the gutted box,
wipe smeared mascara off of my face.
And follow the scent of scrambled eggs
to breakfast with a widow.
She’s Only Eight and She Already Feels Worthless
The water overfilled the cold ceramic tub
and spilled in a tsunami of foam.
She dove in headfirst. She always forgot to hold her breath.
She’d surface in a cacophony of coughs,
but her lips always formed in a dimpled half-smile.
Tonight her eyes sink at the edges
and her pale body deflates.
She starts to choke on air,
her lungs rattle in surrender.
I grasp her tiny, pruney fingers as she gasps at my chest.
I sing the body in mourning of innocence.
As if this really is her last dying breath.
The rubber ducks bob forward in gaudy yellow.
One is painted a lady:
an inflated chest,
and a scarlet beak.
One is a clown:
traced in white powder
garnished in screaming colors.
Both have synthetic blue smeared
across their glassy eyes.
We watch the toy soldier slide from the rim
twisting as if in jelly, his plastic lips unreadable.
He hits the bottom with a resounding click.
"How To Eat Breakfast After Your Dad Dies" was the winner of our 2018 Stephen Bonga Award for High School Students (Poetry)
Kinga Mozes is a high school student in Rochester, Minnesota who loves words and music. She has always loved to read and write, and hopes her writing will truly inspire people to read more. Her inspirations include her dad, the Hungarian poet Jozsef Attila, and everyone who is brave enough to write poetry.