The Web ROW
“The world’s children are perhaps its most truthful and sensitive observers.”

—Pamela Michael, River of Words co-founder
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snapping turtles
The day before he leaves for California, Jared
and you buy sandwiches and soda
from the corner deli and take them to eat
in the park by the high school. The clouds are pale
and heavy with water. Across the pond, a family
feeds bread to the snapping turtles, who watch
them with unblinking dinosaur eyes. Morons, you mutter,

and he swigs in silent agreement. Years ago,
the two of you tossed pebbles into the water, watched
the ripples bloom and merge. He says, too many people
come 'round here now, man. You do not say, you won't

anymore. You look at his reflection in the water,
a pool of wobbling color with inkblots for eyes, your face
floating beside it like a cast-off shadow. Tomorrow there will be rain,
you think, and a paper due, and snapping turtles
with their ancient, savage shells, their pig-like nostrils.
Something warm swells behind your eyes. The sky
is vibrating just a little and only around the corners.

2010 Grand Prize Winner - Category IV (Grades 10-12)
Caroline Dean, age 17
Scarsdale, New York