Teen Poetry Contest Winner for 2006
Monica Milewski
Niles North High School, grade 12


at a party there are always
dazzling abstract patterns
of gift wrap, dozens of pastel balloons,
sometimes with bursts of sparkles, other times
with curly string wrapped around the fingers
of little children, red Kool Aid oozing out
the corners of their mouths, layered in
thick brown paste of chocolate cake,
melted by popping bubbles of clear soda,
topped with vibrant paper hats, which fall off
after everyone is tripped by toilet paper
running from the edge of a toddler’s shoe.
it flows through the air, and the dance begins:
a chaotic mess of noises colliding with each other;
it’s called music. the shrieking laughs ensue, while
chubby arms and fragile fingers reach towards the sky
in an abundance of youthful innocence.
all of this is for the girl who sits frowning
near the windowsill, waiting for the Guest who
will never arrive, because his strong chuckle
stopped reaching her ears a year ago, when the world
turned inside out, and all she could hear was the ceaseless
ringing in her head, hoping that one more time
she could say, “I love you daddy”.