Christine Marella '15 was recently awarded Emory University's Artistine Mann Poetry Award for best undergraduate poetry. A prestigious honor as a freshman, Christine is also a Foyle Commended Poet and a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards national gold medalist. While at Santa Catalina she was the editor of Mosaic, the student publication for literary work and the fine arts.
Christine's award-winning poem, "Dream Study":
From a window-seat
on the nighttime train the houses
open orange mouths and eyes,
tattered lanterns spilled
over the hillside.
The places this train slices through,
the spine of mountain pass
and valley, are unnamed here.
Most things I will leave unnamed.
For instance, the year
my brother's brother carved the life
from his own body with the broken
edge of a garden hoe, the year
the riverbed puckered up
like cracked skin, and finally split.
I dream miles of cornfield, heat
and dust and a wind warm and pressing,
that bows the heads of the corn.
I spit black oil, grease the frying pan,
comb my blackened hands through my
blackened hair. That is all.
Then I am always outside, and
the pan with nothing in it catches
fire, next the curtain, next the kitchen
but I cannot turn, cannot watch the house
burn, I can see the light, see
my shadow arc forward, flickering.
I never know if I burn, if there's another me
inside that house, if in my dream
I meant to start the fire.
I cannot touch even the smallest
parts of myself without burning.
Under this skin I'm screaming
into the wind which carries
over the plains, up into the night.
There's a syrup on the floor–
my feet stick in it, pulling sweet
threads up each time I step.
Makes it hard to get outside, outside
the sky is bright and black
like the inside of a beetle shell,
slick and brittle.