Bernadette M. Stridick First Place

LaRae Tillery

Grade 12

Cinnaminson High School

Teacher: Amy O’Hearn


Apud Mortem


“And this is what you were to do”

says God gazing at me with unknown expression.


I do not dare look up but have all strength to stand.


As before I was at the end of all magnitude.

Before I was nothing greater than common,

than concoction of bones and skin.

Fake, all fake-

and yet real all the same.


I no longer feel teeth and tongue the way I have.

My mind does not move as it did.

Working all day to keep me in the simplest of moments.

Blink, blink, breathe.


when I was blood and skin, everything pained me.


as I am the grass and the feet that walk upon them.

The blue bird and the worm that is swallowed whole by it.


I am relieved.


All this time I have pondered over irrelevance.

The paper body my heart was caged in and what would come of it.

The other paper bodies and what would come of them.

And often, if I had done what I was to.


And here God is, grinning.