“Lantern” by Myhanh Wong
October 26, 2016
You’re sitting in class. The teacher drones on and on. On her desk sits a lantern. Decorative yet functional. You think of the different scenarios of why you would use that lantern. In your mind you travel forward in time with that lantern.
You’re sitting in a bunker, waiting for nothing to happen. The lantern is the only light source, the electricity has been out for days. Your sister sits next to you shivering from the cold.
You take the lantern and grab your sister’s hand. You run down the corridor, your sister struggling to keep up. Turning left, turning right, you keep on running. Suddenly, you stop. Your captor created this place to confuse you. The walls are shifting, you realize the others are gone. Close your eyes. Go back in time.
The war has destroyed everything. Soldiers stalk the alleys looking for young girls to take away. You turn off the lantern and wait for them to pass by. Tear stains illuminate your face in the dark. The moon reflects and you hide your face. Across the barren street a girl whimpers, alerting the soldiers to her presence. They take her and you hope her screams will stop echoing in your mind.
You fall asleep and wait for the safety of daylight.
Myhanh Wong wrote this poem while a student at Washington Middle School, with WITS Writer Rachel Kessler. She will be opening for our Literary Arts Series event with Timothy Egan on October 26, 2016.