Teen Poetry Contest Winner for 2001
Annie Keating
St. Ignatius College Preparatory, Grade 12

Pillow

For months
his head lay on my shoulder
But it had only been one night
a car seat firm beneath my back
frenzied street lamps trapped me
in

he was asleep I’m sure
now… but then
i counted the seconds
a turn, a moan, a strand of hair
so close
his breath blew fog on the window
fading mist that shielded away
a faint and distant street

twisted road to nowhere
steel soldiers lined the way
a million cold eyes watched
the outlaw
girl
whose name the traffic did not call

still i let him sleep
an agony i would not release
and swearing to run me down
swerved left and right
and i a child
danced joyfully in its path

ablaze in a red stoplight
that singed my soul with heat
in awe i watched the flames

so still
aching silence in which he
dreamed
an eyelash flutter against my
cheek

and miles and miles of concrete
road
that would not turn
that would not end
or close my eyes in oblique bliss

yet he

sheltered in the heart
of my toyota 91
he drank away the air i breathed
and as i gasped within his reach
my lungs filled full of him
and i longed to save myself
and roar away the night!

but still

i am the pillow

and i shall let him sleep