forbidden fruit
the inside of a womb.

Nitra, eleventh grade, Del Valle Opportunity Center

Photo © fedgrafo.



“Soon, my darling,” the pumpkin whispered
as a candle flickered within it, “Soon.”

Fall leaves whirled with the flow of music
like fish in a pond or birds in a flock.

The October vines
keep me trapped like spider webs.

How the color orange covers
the pumpkin is how the feeling covered
my body
like scarecrows covered by black-winged birds.

Tell me, how will I look at you
when morning comes?

Collaborative poem from Del Valle Opportunity Center

* * *

Every fall and spring, Badgerdog solicits and publishes occasional poems from its students. This poem by the students at Del Valle Opportunity Center was one of our Halloween favorites. Congratulations!

Stay tuned for the winning poem on Friday.


In another life she would have been an artist,
free & abstract.
She would wear a passion red fabric piece with the scent of
ruby mist flowing.

¡Vamos a bailar!” Let’s go dance, she would say.
I am my mother’s eyes.

Anthony, eleventh grade, Del Valle Opportunity Center

At the Flea Market

He was tall, the cutest guy I’d seen that hot summer. He had the most beautiful smile; his lips looked like two of the softest rose petals. He was wearing a white shirt and some navy blue jeans. We hadn’t talked at all that summer. We would only see each other.

We had the same boss, Laly, who was always singing some bippity-boppity-boo song, but we didn’t work together. He worked installing car stereos and I sold girls’ accessories. Sometimes Laly would need a bag of earrings or change for a twenty over near the stall where he worked, and Laly would call me over to go drop it off. When I saw him, we would only smile at each other. I would look away but hope he was looking at me, thinking am I wearing the right outfit are these the right jeans do I look all sweaty is my makeup smeared? I know he looked awesome holding those car stereos, flexing his muscles.

I used to ask my best friend if she thought he liked me. Yes, she would tell me, but she didn’t really like him. She’d tell me he was too much of an ass, that he wouldn’t take me seriously, that he looked like the kind of guy who would only play with a girl’s feelings.

It didn’t matter. I’d get excited whenever Laly called me over to say that she needed something, cause that meant I’d get to see him. One day as I was getting change and pretending I didn’t see him, I heard his voice. He was talking to me.

“Hey Yvonne, you like my hair?” I looked up from getting change.

“Yes,” I said, blushing with a shaky voice. “It looks badass.”

He started laughing and said, “Thanks, but you don’t have to lie.”

I said I wasn’t. I had to get back to work so I told him, “I’ll see you later.” As I walked away, I looked back smiling and he was smiling at me. I felt like skipping all the way to my booth.

The end of the day came and the flea market started looking dark and empty. He showed up where I was working, but we didn’t talk. I could tell he was hot ’cause I could see the sweat on his forehead running down his face. I gave him a nervous smile, but he just walked away. We didn’t have a chance.

Yvonne, eleventh grade, Del Valle Opportunity Center

This week, we’ll be posting the finalists for the Rose Million Healey Award in Short Fiction. Come out to our community-wide reading Saturday, May 2, to meet the authors and find out who the winner is.

Oklahoma Flood

stormafter a line by Joy Harjo

It was beginning to rain in Oklahoma, the rain that would flood the world. I tried to tell myself that it was only minor, but when I heard the birds fleeing from the sycamore trees like pieces of a heart, I panicked, running from the flood, hoping it wouldn’t catch up. I was dry as the grass in summer but I didn’t need to get wet so I ran on top of the cars knowing they would only hold me for so long—

Tiffany, ninth grade, Del Valle Opportunity Center