Vermont Arts Council

Mars Sell, 2022 Original Poetry Winner

My Dad Went to Europe and All I Got Was a Wooden Giraffe

There’s nothing special about The giraffe. It has harsh
Edges from careless carving.
I smile at the gift and my dad
Looks away. There’s nothing quite like

The fireworks on the Fourth.
I used to sit up until late into the night with my dad
Just to watch them glow.
Now the sulfuric smoke creeping through the window
Is like rain pouring down on a fire;

Any happiness I felt seconds ago is doused by the scent.
There’s nothing that can help me, save
The giraffe that sits on a shelf above my bed,
Staring at me with mournful eyes.
Just a glance and I remember long summer
Days, bright red sunburns. There’s nothing

Left, least of all any happy memories,
Just an animal watching.
The giraffe stares and I cry.
There’s nothing it can say
Besides the story carved into its wood
But still I ask, Who made you?


The giraffe doesn’t answer my question.

Mars Sell

Silver Key, 2022 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards


admin-place March 29, 2022