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The Girl That Stood Here Last Summer

By: Masouda K.

The girl in this story represents much of humanity. When we begin seeking others’ approval and living up to their desires, we fall into a spiral of anger and sadness. I hope my poem conveys to the reader that they are not alone. This is true because we as individuals must learn to accept that solely ourselves should control our lives. Beyond this, the poem brings awareness to how the others around you may be struggling with an internal battle. If you know someone who is struggling, you should help them and provide comfort. Mental health matters to me because it plays a huge role in how I view life every day. Furthermore, similarly to the girl in the poem, mental health is what defines how difficult doing tasks becomes. Besides the physical pain, there is internal pain. The girl struggles to dance after she falls into despair; however, earlier in the poem, when the girl was filled with joy, she was able to dance gracefully. Mental health impacts me by defining how present I can be in the moment and how I feel–therefore, how I act. I find it extremely important to understand and empathize with how others are feeling. Because you have the potential to change their day–and, ultimately, their life.

1st Place · Middle School Writing (2023)

Do you remember the girl that stood here last summer?


She looked over the river flow—

and watched the ripples grow.


She had a smile on her face—

a twinkle in her eyes.

She danced with such grace,

and stared up at the light blue sky.


As time passed,

she started to care

about others’ expectations.

Soon she grew this desperation.

Like fire spreading through a forest,

her desire surged up with a flare,

to be liked,

to be seen.


Every night she went to bed,

monsters clawed up to her head.

The twinkle in her eyes began to disappear,

and slowly her soul filled up with fear.


Before long, her smile became fake,

solely there for others’ sake.


Every night she began to cry,

pleading up to the dark, black sky.


She danced with pain—

each step was filled with strain,

as her body soaked up the rain.


Did you see the girl change?

Can you, by chance, recall her name?


Do you remember the girl that stood here last summer?

Now she stares up at a flying swan,

the smile on her face long gone.


Perhaps, all one had to do was say, “Are you ok?”

Perhaps then she wouldn’t have fallen apart

or gone on with a broken heart.


It is not too late

one can still challenge fate.

While it takes acceptance, courage, and hope,

with time, one day, the girl may cope.

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