double sonnet for education

By Emma Miao
10th grade, West Point Grey Academy, Canada

With lines from "Portraits of a Pandemic: This West Philly High School Teacher Struggles to Reconnect With Her Students" by Errin Haines, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

We linger on screen.
               Light, precarious on
offing: fractured, striking.
               Welcome home: the empty
waves, asynchronous revelry;
               to touch is a yawning thirst
in stir. Deserted
               classrooms are still beautiful.
I still talk to God,
               who holds me, exhumes me in
morning, thumbs my
                lungs with wanting sanctimony.
Home is not a quiet place
                & the sound melds together.

& like teeth through hair,
               we bleed, shattered as the Capitol.
Hug, with our eyes;
               feel, with our words.
We are ringed in the
               purled remnants of life.
Whose mother called,
               and who lost their way; we're numbing
our souls in carving them:
               mourning August's absence
in the April ebb. Today,
                Washington glares red for us.
What is the definition of safe
                when everything is slivered to the bone?

Emma Miao
Emma Miao

Emma Miao attends high school in Vancouver, BC. She firmly believes that writing can be an avenue for social and political change. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Cosmonauts AvenueGlass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Emerson Review, among others. A Commended Foyle Young Poet 2019, she is the co-founder and executive editor of Surging Tide Magazine, an online literary magazine dedicated to empowering and showcasing youth voices. She is recognized by the Poetry Society UK and the Poetry Institute of Canada. 

Read more winning entries from the 2020 Fighting Words Poetry Contest