Submissions are accepted on a regular basis, year-round.
Can include, short stories, essays, poetry and prose.
Must not exceed 3,000 words.
Must be written by a current ESA student, or alumni.
Submissions are accepted:

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Sparkling Blue
Emily Parker

I see the heavy iron bars that shut in this little girl—Does no one else?
Responsibilities trap her like the thick iron bars of a cell,
blocking all my light.
She waits patiently, following the guidance
Of her parents, her teachers, who tell her
This is what she must endure to be freed.
This is what to do, they tell her, to have the freedom
To pursue your dreams. Just like us. Yet they do not look free.
The girl sees an even thicker cage surrounding them.

(Little girl, do you really want this?)

The girl sits on a stack of textbooks
And counts the minutes as they pass.
How much longer will she have to stay in this prison?
How much more studying will she have to do until she is freed?
The grand piano looms like a silent shadow in the corner.
Now and then, papers fly up into the air
On a draft of wind leaking in from the barred window.

(Little girl, do you really want this?)

I long to give her paradise.
The girl moves to the window and peers outside.
For a few moments, my sunlight blinds her, but eventually she can see—
Sparkling blue lake, surrounded by vibrant green brush.
This is a place where stress cannot reach. Responsibility does not exist here.
For a while, the little girl believes she is there.
She feels my warm rays on her fair skin, inviting her to stay forever.
She hears forlorn cries of birds, like beautiful sorrowful music. She loves music.
This is where she wants to be, where she can escape the iron weight,
Where she can escape everything that seems to be her life now.

She doesn’t know how to continue. She is done being patient.
She should let her lungs breathe in the waters of the lake,
Feel herself gently drifting into its darkness.
Nothing could reach her.

(Little girl, would you really want this?)

The black water would surround her like a shell,
blocking vision, sound, paralyzing her senses.
I would not be able to reach her here.
Nor would she ever hear music,
Feel the deep passion she has for it,
Be with her family and friends, whom she loves so deeply,
See all the beauty that awaits her in the world.

(Little girl, do you really want this?)

This room, this precious room, holds all the things that make her happy.
And the iron bars hold up the walls.
Now the little girl dusts off the piano.
She touches the keys and remembers a beautiful melody.
She begins to play, and as she presses the ivory keys,
I shine in through the window and touch her face.
She travels to a place with
sparkling blue lake, surrounded by vibrant green brush,
A place where stress cannot reach.

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