Literary Orphans

TEEN SPIRIT: New York as a Dream I Once Knew by Ashleigh Kennedy

Sometimes I dream I’m in New York,

that I stand under shrouds of fog,

curtains of cloud falling slow,

like snow resting on tilted sidewalks.

Wind wrestles down the alleyways,

and I shiver into myself,

watching strangers skirt the subway tiles,

workers hoisting the train to its feet.

Its clanging wheels rush forward,

flashing by street and stone blurring behind the glass,

its people sitting inches apart,

mouths agape as they fall

back to the metal beneath them, cold and catching.

A boy crashes into me, and I almost hear

burning notes rising, skipping down Washington,

square and syncopated, like a song I used to play.

Hey, I want to say,

the words edging the air, tasting my tongue.

I feel like we’ve met before.

That your name used to echo mine when we’d race

through spindled daisies, arms outstretched to their dew-dripped grasses,

fireflies tripping in the dusk ahead of us.

Hey, I want to say. Let’s run into the river,

stand inside the streetcars,

taste the sun as it lands into our palms,

falling free beside the bodegas,

the clover sprouting through wood-worn clefts.

Already he’s turning away,

back to the plastic seats, the quiet stares,

but I still see the houred pavement,

thinking we could live above this concrete,

high in some quaint, Greenwich flat like

we’re still students in the halls of history,

sharing sweetened storms and summer rain,

stumbling through the museums, the stairwells,

the empty rooftops we claim our own,

light under the too-wide sky.

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Ashleigh Kennedy is a rising senior at Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School and has been previously been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. This is her first publication.

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–Foreground Art by Steven Gray

–Background Art by Giuseppe Milo