Creative Writing from Our Winter Interns

GWP Winter-Spring Interns, left to right top: Rachel Rosa Canales, Tyler Esparza, Sabrina Lessley. Bottom row, left to right: Rachel Nolan, Rachael Peretic, David Hakas

We ran a wonderful Field Work Term for Bennington College and hosted three fabulous interns: David Hakas, Sabrina Lesley, and Tyler Esparza. We also hosted Rosa Canales, an intern from Dennison University who is heading to Germany to study abroad next semester. Our University of Arizona intern, Rachael Peretic is staying on through the spring and we are hoping she will run our “New York Office” when she and her husband move down there!

Rosa and Tyler submitted some of their own environmental writing and we are delighted to publish their work here on our blog which will also be featured in our upcoming newsletter. It is so great that these young people are using their voices and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication!

Rosa Canalas’s Poem:

The Last Love Poem

It is 2050, and I sit at your bedside, your weak hands grasping for my arm, pulling me down into an abyss where birds huddle together, their feet shackled and their feathers stripped bare, and I listen closer than I ever have before to the sweetness you trickle into my ear, the gurgles of drying streams and the million reasons why I should have loved you when I didn’t. 

I raise my mouth to capture this honey and I greedily lick my lips around the edges, still craving artificial sugar, corn syrup, plastic, my mouth always wandering in a search for sweetness, wanting to kiss the plumped silence of those with money stuffed in their ears, whose lips they had carved to fit only their own.

But now my lips are still, they yearn for your cool breath to calm the inferno I have stoked from coal and desire and your discarded offerings, my hands coming to rest atop your fingers laced across your chest, across a cavern covered by disintegrating moss and lichen, a shelter for the hibernating black bear and her cubs, silently asleep, their snouts and paws stained bloody from berries.

And it is too late for me to wash out these stains, so I hold your hand as you gasp, your lungs punctured with every crumbled piece of bony color in their dark blue waters, and now I am selfish again because I once more want to follow my father into the sturdy green stillness, a palette accented by the yellow of watchful eyes from higher than I could ever climb on shaking limbs. 

I want to hear your heartbeat in my ears instead of only my own and chase this steady compass through your jungled veins and arteries, an immortal heart we thought could withstand the neglect of wishful prayers shot into the heavens rather than gratitude distilled into our roots, could withstand our destruction and our insatiable avarice, but now we have found that we are not so different after all, neither of us is immortal and neither of us can withstand a life without love. 

 

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Tyler Esparza’s short story:

In a Burning Room

“Oh, come on Sara,” I said, “Really, what’s the point in fighting it? It’s over now.”

She paced back and forth around the room as the flames licked up the walls, the smoke slowly constricting my throat like a rope around my neck, filling the holes we cut into the walls in our feeble attempts to escape.

“No, no there has to be something, we can’t give up. There must be something we can do. Maybe we can try the walls agai-” She stopped and clutched at her chest as a violent fit of coughing racked her body.

“You definitely can’t do anything in that state,” I said, slowly getting up and putting my hand on her back, “I told you already, it’s too late. Maybe when the heat started we should have run. When we saw the first flame make its way under the door we should have stamped it out. We  didn’t try hard enough then, and now even our hardest won’t be enough.”

Her eyes were filled with tears, whether from the fire or from despair, I wasn’t sure. She had never cared for this room before, why should she care now that the end was in sight?

I was the one who kept this room neat, cleaned up the messes of her drunken wine spills and cleared out the trash she left wherever she wanted. Yet suddenly, in the face of impending doom, our roles were reversed. I knew there was nothing left to do, but she wouldn’t give up.

Between coughs, she sputtered words of hate that couldn’t hurt me any more. She was blaming me for not helping, for not warning her sooner. What good would it do to argue now? Remind her of all the times I’d warned her that some day she’d lose this room if she didn’t stop treating it like her personal trash can. I guess she didn’t think she’d be trapped here while it burned. Over time her breathing grew more and more labored as I brought her over to the bed and laid her down for the last time. She hit my arms feebly as I stood up. She begged me not to give up. I just sat on the floor, leaned my back against the bed, and tried to remember what this room was like when there was still life here. When we could have saved it.

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