You Said It

Someday Our Youth Will Be Behind Us

Our inaugural edition of reader poetry.

Alex-Quan Pham

Summer Night

It’s a summer night,
and the air is cool and comforting,
as if it’s apologizing for the smothering heat of day.
I sit down on a patch of dead grass,
my arms wrapped around my legs,
knees to my chest.
Tall pine trees tower around me,
standing vigilantly,
like sentries on guard.
There is a musky scent in the air that reminds me of Grandpa’s favorite cardigan.
The scent of safety.

A plane roars overhead,
and I answer its call,
raising my head toward the night sky.
What I see is a love affair.
Between the sky and the sea.
Mirror images of each other.
Like the Greek boy Narcissus gazing at his own reflection.
Both images vast, beautiful, infinite.
Everything feels like it is one.

I try to picture the people seated in the plane.
There is a small, elderly woman,
of 76 years,
bound for New York City,
for her older sister’s funeral.
There is a 13-year-old girl,
tall for her age, gangly,
a child born somewhere in the middle amongst her nine other siblings,
quietly weeping for her father,
thinking no one can hear her,
bound for New York City,
for his funeral.
There is a 17-year-old boy,
lanky and pensive,
also bound for New York City,
looking down at the earth, at me,
as I look up at him.
And as he is looking down from his window seat,
I wonder if he knows there’s another 17-year-old boy,
lanky and pensive,
bound for New York City,
looking up at the sky, at him.

The plane flies out of sight,
leaving behind it a trail of scattered stars.
Like distant burning halos,
illuminating the velvet darkness.
I think,
if I look hard enough,
I can see the twinkle in Grandpa’s eyes.

As I look up at him,
and he looks down at me,
I wonder what he’s thinking.
I wonder if he sees Mom quietly weeping,
when she thinks no one can hear her.
I wonder if he knows I miss him.
I wonder if he misses me.
I wonder if he knows that I’m 17 now,
lanky, pensive,
bound for New York City.
I wonder if he knows that summer nights are my favorite time of the year,
because it’s when I can best see that twinkle in his eye,
and it’s when the scent of the trees is strongest.
I wonder if he knows I still wear his favorite cardigan,
and that it still carries the scent of safety.


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  • whatever April 19th, 2013 3:12 PM

    what a great collection! i’m going to print out some of these and stick them on my wall ♡♡
    “rather” on page 11 made me laugh


  • Ree April 19th, 2013 3:23 PM

    Gosh, Rookie readers are the best, this is brilliant in every way :-)

  • o-girl April 19th, 2013 4:09 PM

    “There is a 13-year-old girl,
    tall for her age, gangly.”
    This is a perfect description of me. Perhaps the exact definition of my appearance.

  • FlowerandtheVine April 19th, 2013 4:30 PM

    This is really a tremendous collection. It’s amazing how people can feel so many of the same emotions, while going through completely different situations!

  • indigosunday April 19th, 2013 4:49 PM

    Such a great poetry collection

  • KatGirl April 19th, 2013 5:50 PM

    Summer Nights T_T

  • paige.xo April 19th, 2013 6:14 PM


  • Jasmine April 19th, 2013 6:39 PM

    very lovely to see so much talent c:
    it definitely inspires me

  • Bianca April 19th, 2013 6:52 PM

    Aw Rookie has such talented readers! Their words and hearts on page move me greatly…nice job everyone <3

    PS – I also followed the links left in comments above by readers to their blogs…also very cool.

  • Maddie April 19th, 2013 7:21 PM

    This is such a beautiful collection of poems! I love that Rookie publishes reader work… thank you!

  • Miss Pink April 19th, 2013 8:28 PM

    LOVE this collection!! Such talented poets! <3

  • TessAnnesley April 19th, 2013 9:26 PM

    looooooooooooord i love all of you

  • rockwrenroll April 19th, 2013 9:36 PM

    I just watched Dead Poets Society, so I’ve been on a bit of a poetry kick lately. These are wonderful.

  • AnaRuiz April 19th, 2013 9:39 PM

    Things like this help me understand what Mary Poppins referred to with “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

  • wishfulwanderer April 20th, 2013 12:54 AM

    These are so great! I am kind of disappointed though that I didn’t submit my poetry… will there be another edition of reader poetry?

  • Tara A. April 20th, 2013 1:00 AM

    Rookie readers are amaaaazing and so talented! This collection is the best!

  • Tangerine April 20th, 2013 2:01 AM

    This is so so great

  • Cactus Woman April 20th, 2013 4:35 AM

    I have been waiting for something like this for SO LONG. You’ve no idea. Can’t wait to submit to a future one!

    ~*~**THANK YOU!**~*~

  • diniada13 April 20th, 2013 6:30 AM

    Love these!!! But if I want to submit poetry should it match the monthly theme?

    • Anaheed April 20th, 2013 6:34 AM

      No, it doesn’t have to.

  • Alex S. April 20th, 2013 10:51 PM

    I can almost feel the words behind these poems, is that weird? It might be but these are beautiful, can’t wait to see this revisited in the future.

  • cornly_ April 21st, 2013 9:05 AM


  • cornly_ April 21st, 2013 9:12 AM

    P.s Childhood Playmates made me kind of tear up, it was just beautiful.

    • chestnutsumo85 April 21st, 2013 3:22 PM

      thank you so much! – Sophie

  • Ella W April 21st, 2013 1:26 PM

    I wish this was a monthly piece on Rookie!

  • Maddy April 21st, 2013 10:26 PM

    IS STEVE HAPPY?! More poetry! :D

  • abby111039 April 22nd, 2013 8:06 PM

    I wish I had read these sooner. What a lovely collection of poems.

  • April 23rd, 2013 1:25 PM

    This was just beautiful.

  • HaverchuckForPresident April 27th, 2013 4:47 PM

    I really love these. The fact that they are from this community with people around my own age thinking and going through similar things as me makes them super-relatable. I especially like Keep Open, Consumable Yourh Rebellion and Divorce is a Dirty Word :) :) :)

  • pubertyblues April 28th, 2013 11:44 PM

    every single one of these made me cry

  • Rini July 29th, 2013 11:13 PM

    So fresh:)