Hannah Staats, a senior at IDEAS Academy, was awarded with an honorable mention throughout the Midwest for her writing portfolio. She submitted a group of works compiled mostly of flash fiction, poetry, and some prose to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
“Writing is a thing that I enjoy doing and most of the time I like what I write, but it’s nice to receive some recognition or hear that other people appreciate my writing too,” Staats says of the award.
Below is an excerpt of “Last Chance”, a piece included in Staats’ submitted portfolio.
Like a sinner I was born praying for rain.
I wanted to drink the ink from a ballpoint pen, wondering all the while if it would expand in my stomach when I swallowed.
I don’t remember what we drew, but I remember how we drew it: metal and magnets shaken like legos spilled across the floor.
I have always second-guessed my cardinal direction when told it’s my “other left.” I have always asked for a do-over. But everyone seems to think they were born of the Virgin Mary until they learn of their parents’ greatest sin, the one that allowed for their existence and by extension the existence of the boy in the tree with me, staring at my mouth like he saw a cereal box prize in my teeth and is waiting for me to move a certain way so he can snatch it up. “Claudia,” he says, “te quiero. Te quiero te quiero te quiero.” With his words he sends my knack for conversation packing and my brain back to the days of the Etch-a-Sketch, the shards spread across the board until they look like absolutely nothing I have ever seen before. They didn’t teach this in Sunday school, those voices at church that say save yourself and the voices on the radio that say move like this and the voices at home say come back before dark and the voices in my head say move like this move like this move like that.
Father will look me in the eyes at confession until I tell him what I’ve done.
I will look back and tell him nothing at all.