By Beatrix Stone
9th grade, Allendale Junior High School, Canada

With lines from “Lives Frozen By Conflict” by Paula Bronstein, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

Walk along the contact line,
Walk the line of life,
Walk the bones of human toll,
Those pitiful, alive.

Watch their weary desperate eyes
Watch their wizened hearts,
Watch their plight and broken selves,
Like home country, torn apart

Look to these, the last to flee
Look to these forgotten
Look to these left so alone,
Futures lay, downtrodden

What golden years we’ve left behind,
What love now lost to dust
What last year led to losing 
Fractured, desperate, trust 

Listen to the hopeless,
Listen to their plea,
Listen as they waste away,
From the earth, we bleed 

From the earth we bleed the blood lost here long ago,
From our minds we’ve lost ourselves
To crosses row on row,
This country and this people,
Left to ash we breathe,
With each day the battles come,
Even if the soldiers leave.

Beatrix Stone is a grade nine student in Alberta, Canada. She began writing poetry in grade five, as part of a school wide program for slam poetry. She has continued to work on this art, including taking part in multiple Pulitzer Contests over the years. She enjoys reading, longboarding, and playing guitar. Also writing. Like, a lot.

Read more entries from the 2021 Fighting Words Poetry Contest.