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Brooks Balkan, 2021 Original Poetry Winner

One Night in the Barn

I find walks in this old barn
pull, from my pale, bloody chest, my childhood.
Walks wind themselves like loose yarn
among the old creaking planks and pillars of the black, rotting wood.

My ancestors once walked here,
before crumbling into faded paintings.
Colored strokes did once endear
their severe painted faces to me like fire to thin wood shavings.

Mother was never painted.
She was laid down in black, crumbled dirt.
Paint strokes would leave her tainted.
They could not capture her face, screaming in her final hour of hurt.

I am not really a god
though I created this world in the field,
old, dead barn, and wet, loose sod.
I am brittle like the bone of her white corpse. Mother never healed.

Brooks Balkan

Gold Key, 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards


Brooks Balkan seen from the waist up, looking at the camera.Brooks Balkan is a sophomore, and, when not writing, he is passionate about competing in athletics and debate. His favorite poem is “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe. He has previously been published in Underwood, and enjoys sharing his work with those close to him. During the pandemic, he has had much more time to view the world “from the outside” and to remember and reflect, which allows poetry to continue to shape his view of the world.