By Sophie Chiang, V Form
The William Otis Smith Prize for English Verse: “blue break of dawn”
The William Otis Smith Prize for English Verse is given in memory of a member of the Class of 1907 and is awarded to one student, who, in the judgment of the English Department, has submitted the outstanding verse during the past year.
“blue break of dawn”
no one ever crosses the cracked crosswalks
in the blue break of dawn. your mind flickers
into a sea-bloom of blue lights and credit cards,
of white powder and rolled-up dollar bills. you’ve
never been too cautious, these mannequins seem
to hold a gaze so intense it’s like you’re 17 and
speeding past red & blue flashes all over again.
you cry out and pick at your scalp, the one thing
holding together everything you’re made of,
the one thing you’ve ever been terrified to grasp.
there’s not much room to hold your new life next to
your mother’s faltering punch and your father’s
drunken breath. you wonder if this is universal. you
wonder if this is where it starts for people like you. you
wonder if that’s why when it matters, no one ever
crosses the concrete where you come from.
Sophie Chiang is a VI Form boarding student who loves neuroscience, surrealist poetry, and philosophy. When not writing, she enjoys retail therapy, hanging out with her friends, and curating Spotify playlists.