Teach Your Kids to Swim

Write On! Poetry Prize Gold Winner, Ages 13-18

by Cameron Moore

Far-off lights blur in the deep well of midnight.
Every brush of skin charged
with enough electricity to defibrillate dead hopes
shoveled into the hues of the lake draped
by a starlit sky and the passing clouds of her perfume.

She moves her hand a little to the left,
far enough to where I could reach her
and suddenly we could laugh
about the silly mistakes our parents made:
keeping the liquor cabinet unlocked and marrying too young.

We hum along to whatever comes through our heads,
but not so loud that we couldn’t listen
To whispers from the thin lips of a three-piece suit
telling us that Eden was never what our parents made it out to be.
So we find dreamy dysphoria in the coup d’etat of our elders.

The moon begins to set—
a colorless circumference silently seeping
into the pearlescence of a newly-lunar lake—
a spotlight on some backwoods teenage burlesque,
night contrasting as its velvet backdrop.

Sprawled on a lakebed with no pillow,
I tell her every story about the holes in my drywall
and she unravels the tall tale to every single star,
fantasizing harps overhead,
grinning with wine-stained teeth.

She looks at me with dampened eyes,
pupils fixed on the words pouring from my lips,
the glint of passersby ricocheting off the exit signs.
We lean a little closer, and forget for just a moment
that we’re drowning in this well.

cameron moore

Cameron Moore is currently enrolled in his junior year at the Pingree School in Massachusetts. Aside from writing poetry, he enjoys acting and musical theater. He credits every one of his artistic achievements to the wonderful peers and teachers who workshop his poems and support his endeavors unconditionally.

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