By Raina Zrinko
10th grade, Spotswood High School, NJ

With lines from “Ford's Electric Pickup Is Built From Metal That's Damaging the Amazon” by Jessica Brice and Sheridan Prasso, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

My America has shifted
Since I woke up one night
The rose-color faded
And the oil seeps into the cracks
In my skin
The smoke squeezes my lungs
Pollutes my breath

My America makes rust-colored tears,
Tinged like tea,
Drip from the sea of a foreign land
Drip, drip, drip
Onto the aluminum falcon’s back
Each electric drop
Fueling it’s silent engine

My America eats her pride
For breakfast, washes it down
With an ice cold glass of water
The families of the Amazon
Lick the condensation
And she calls it charity

My America carries
The mark of oppression
The mark of destruction
In the palm of her hand
The other hand holding
Her new toy car
Shiny. Shameful.

My America waits patiently
Until her money trees grow
Until very beautiful is the sky
But ugly is the water
She dances to the ticking clock
Tick. Tick. Tick.


My name is Raina and I’m a rising junior at Spotswood High School in Spotswood, New Jersey. I am passionate about art and hope to pursue it in the future. I also enjoy listening to music, reading, and playing the guitar. I was inspired by the ongoing environmental issues that go unresolved, especially those directly impacting Earth’s wildlife and natural resources, and hope to highlight one of many unethical practices sanctioned by large corporations that are contributing to these issues.

Read more winning entries from the 2023 Fighting Words Poetry Contest.