Teen Poetry Contest Winner for 2000
Marina Braginsky
Niles North High School, Grade 10


I am so close now that I can smell
The fear seeping from its pores.
Following its tracks.
I jog silently through the forest.
I hear the twigs and branches
Snapping underneath
Its weary steps,
And push on determined.
I have been pursuing
This creature for weeks now.
With every passing day,
In my mind it grew
In size and spirit.
I no longer thought of it
As a human being but as
A beast, dangerous and wild.
To end its existence and
Capture its spirit
No longer seemed like murder,
But as a heroic feat
Ending in victory and praise.
With these images in my mind,
I push on; not daring to stop or look back.
I am getting closer because
Now I can hear it moan
And whimper from pain and exhaustion.
I can smell the blood
His veins shed onto the crisp,
Green leaves and brown earth.
All around me are signs
Of this miserable creature's agony.
I smile to myself.
Knowing that I can give a man
Such intolerable sufferings
While, myself, feeling such bliss
Pleased me.
The continuous hunt had set
Something on fire within me
That was too hot and too strong to extinguish.
The thought of beating this
Creature down and watching
Its life bleed from its body brought
A secret grin to my face.
I could just imagine the warm blood
Painting my hands crimson
And his clear eyes taking
Their last glimpse of the world.
I giggled to myself and quickened my pace.
I could see him now
Scrambling just ahead of me.
His light hair long, shaggy, and damp
From a mix of blood and sweat.
Suddenly, he let out a sharp, painful moan
And collapsed 10 feet in front of me.
Looking down at him, I could see no trace of life.
Only a young boy looking blankly at me with clear eyes,
Bleeding heavily from serious wounds.
A strange look of relief was painted across his face.
Disappointed, I turned around and walked away.