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TOP TEN WINNERS

Moira Armstrong
Grade 11
Howland High School, OH

Paris, Orlando, Nice, Dallas, Turkey, Baton Rouge, Munich My phone always lights with
Hey I know you were out tonight just wanted to check in, make sure you're okay
I'm rebuilding bridges I burned when my emotions were aflame
Hasty construction, faulty rigging, but before I walk outside I repair regrets
I end conversations "Gotta go- I love you"
And the responses
I love you too. Be careful. Be safe
From sixteen year old students who watch the news and worry it's their friends who'll be
next. Asian, transgender, Greek, gay, Indian friends who want to go to airports. To
fireworks displays. Out their own front door. To the places that are supposed to be safe.
They always told us those places would be safe.
Sixteen year old students who used to
worry about driving class and English homework and instead are debating whether
Canada would take them in.
Three months ago we didn't say we loved each other but three months ago we didn't think
The world was a grenade so now it's
Text me later
Text me in the morning
Text me when you get back home
I love you. And I want you to know that.
As if it's some protective charm, repeated because quite simply it has never failed us.

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