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These are the collection of poems that I have written over the course of my English: Creative Writing career thus far, for classes including Intro to Creative Writing: Poetry and Advanced Creative Writing.
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carpet burn

carpet burn

by sophie winston


sometimes i stand in the ghosted road outside my house when it’s

brushed with licks of moonlight and the burnt caramel glow

of the street lights standing tall and daunting like brooding

watchmen who see everything. when the only thing that 

engulfs me is the whispers of leaves to my either side. i stand 

in the middle of the two lanes, looking ahead as leftover heat from the day

rises and i let the humid air encompass me as well as the darkness 

surrounding me and the emanating green light as it switches to 

red, with no one to stop but me and i don’t. i let my feet keep padding, still

not moving aside, pacing the black top along the stark yellow lines while

pebbles stick and bite my bare feet on the ground where earlier i walked and

men called out their windows. whose words about the way my skin

and sinew curves over my bones stuck to my skin like

thick oil paint   months dried   itchy and crusty as the

syllables that poured out of their chapped lips onto to my supple

skin feeling like a full body carpet burn smeared with dirt that will never 

leave. the filth stays no matter if it rains and i walk down the path outside

my house where the cool water soothes my peeling skin with its gentle

touch and washes away my thoughts   but not the dirt   as 

i stand there    the sounds   the words    don’t go away

no matter if i sleep with my eyes squeezed tight and my ears 

plugged with wax or stand in the road when all is quiet and empty, with 

no one to stop but me   and i don’t   i keep going until

night comes again and i pray for the moons soft tongue and 

the rain to soothe me of my wounds.



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By Sophie Winston


I’ve always tried to match my shirt to my skin

the way my great grandmother did, with

hands like crushed velvet left out in the sun

for so long, it wears it in with its rays’ slow strokes

and the sweet air’s gentle touch until it’s

warm, glinting in the light, youthful and smooth.


I’ve always tried to match my shirt to my skin

the way my great grandmother did, with

a face that glows golden as honey scooped

from the comb but dressed in armor just the same. 

Maybe not of iron or bronze but stronger:


the furs she always had drip over her shoulders from

the stand her husband owned on the corner

of the damp New York streets, when all she had

was her silky skin and the weight of so many

curled up on the cricks in her neck, beautiful

but heavy.


I’ve always tried to match my shirt to my skin

the way my great grandmother did. Armor

disguised by plush and fur, the delicateness

of her skin on yours-- the metal of her skin invisible

to those who feel her caresses or brush her in passing,

but still there.


To not feel haunted at night

To not feel haunted at night 

          must be like warm honey and apples: lucky

                    and sticky on your fingers until 

                              you suck them clean 

                                        with a smile, all cheeks and tongue

          before lying back to bed, linen and lovers

                              sticking to your palms as you reach

                                        to find flesh and dreaming lips.


          For the rest of us, we lie besides ghosts

                    whose cool hands sink through our skin

                              trying to anchor but slipping through, in the uneasy way

                    that you feel spindly legs crawling up your back, shaking

                              out your clothes to find nothing but

                                        skin and beads of sweat. 


          I know all too well the hollow

                    feeling of standing on the deck of

                              my house at night, alone, besides

                    the whispers of fingernails painted blue

                              running up the inside of my wrist, alongside

                                        a breath of indecision as I ponder

                                                  whether the hand is mine

                                                            or the memory of another.


          I gaze up, here in my bed, and

                    feel the air whoosh around the walls

                              breathing laughs of ice, like the plane of it we fell

                    on when the blades on our shoes 

                              gave out in a tumble-- 

                                        I hear it, our bodies colliding, but 

                                                  I can’t see your eyes, your teeth a blur:


          Translucent and cold and gone. The silence and

                              stillness as it sits stale and expiring, but

                                        doesn’t fall into me-- as

                                                  you don’t fall into me-- but only

                                        the chill as it settles into my feet

                              until they carry me back outside to 

                                        the deck of hollow souls, empty hands

                                                  and soft breezes across one's neck.


          Spooky, isn’t it, how the ghosts

                    who won’t ever really see me

                              are the only ones

                                        who have?


Us, Where you Stained My Skin

Us, Where You Stained My Skin


Every morning the sky laughs--

            big belly laughs, as it looks down at you

and at me, covered in the glitter left on my body from your hands.

                        Twinkling lights that are there from your skin, but

I can’t seem to see any on you, just on me.

            How did you do this, I ask, I don’t understand, from

            wherever you touched my flesh, I glow.

But never mind-- is it clay that I see? From the mud you use to sculpt your beautiful pots

                                    and me?

No, not me. For I am more than you

            no matter the words you try to say, all the I belong to you’s

and the seduction--

            Maybe that is where the glitter is from:

the words of silk and thick tongue that you used to lick across my body

                        that made my heart burn up into flames like the wildfires we

saw in Montana where the trees bent around us

            because you asked them to.

                        You asked them because

you knew it would make me smile-- all those bending trees that moved just for me.

Every morning the sky laughs--

            And now I see why, as the sparkles won’t come off

no matter if I rub with dish soap and oils.

                                    The glitter that you put on me, when I was facing away

            when I was unaware of all that you left behind

on me.

            I would laugh too, if I were the sun watching a girl get

painted and coated in such a way.

                        The sky probably would have stayed too, would

have been unable to cleanse its skin if it knew you.

            I remember meeting you, the colors of your eyes like

blue bells and lips the color of a lady bug’s wings, speaking words that tasted

                                    like maple syrup.

The sky probably would have stayed too--

            After seeing such a thing, after all the glitter

and lovely mugs you made fresh with your hands for me to sip hot water and honey

when my throat felt parched.

                                    Just for me, but not really,

Because the glitter might be beautiful

            Like your eyes and calloused hands,

                        but your words turned from honeysuckle to squid ink--

poisonous and permanent.

            Now my skin is covered in your shine but darkened.

                        My own twinkle snuffed out by the fumes of you

and the syllables that left your lips and stained my heart.

After I realized you only bent the trees

                        for you, because you could. Only made me mugs

                                    for my tea and parched throat because it made

my heart tilt and shift at your will

                                                just like those trees back in the redwoods

all those months ago.

            Every morning the sky laughs,

                        And I cry for the days of soft lips and notes of flowers:

A time where my skin only shone from the sun's beams and

            the fairness of my complexion.


the walls

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The Rings I Wear

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