2016 Junior Authors Poetry Contest Winner Category 2

Rida Rangoonwala, Age 18, USA


Road Trip

A raindrop is a magnifying glass.
Outside the poignancy of flames—
Of burning trees and
The acrid fumes of decayed regret—
Is inescapable.
You pull the window down,
Wrestling the pane with your hands,
And try to gulp in that air;
It’s your oxygen, your atmosphere—
The stench of melting plastic
Has you salivating. Wetness seeps within
The needle gaps of your teeth.
You suck it down.

An automatic reaction:
The more the crystal pores of your palms
Drip human rust, the tighter you clutch the steering.
You laugh too—your pale lips gaping noiselessly.
Droplets trickle into your mouth
From the leaking roof of your eyes,
From the inferno you glimpse
Through your window.
Warm air stings.
You leave it behind, like nightmares.
Raving about sane roads,
Driving the headlights of one heartbeat
Down memory lane.

Someone’s voice blurs on the radio.
The static is from raindrops
That find their own thunder,
Even pelting a small jalopy
Whose movements are thunder.
Still—the ghostly interference is good company.
That—and the swishing of windshield wipers—
Remind you of noise.
The pounding of rain is so much like
The metal pendulums clanging against your mind;
It’s just an atmospheric shift
To pass a long drive.


It was raining hard one morning and I was feeling rather miserable; I was in an old car, cruising along the highway and I remember winding one of those old-fashioned knobs that open the windows. A few drops of rain hit me and the air somehow smelled like it was on fire. And we kept driving on. There’s something liberating and heartbreaking about the idea-about driving off, with no end point in sight, because it’s like an emergency exit, away from some stifling memory or experience. And it made me wonder how much you can actually outdrive and what’s left.


2 comments on “2016 Junior Authors Poetry Contest Winner Category 2

  1. Liam

    What a truly wonderful piece. Congratulations!

    • Rida Rangoonwala

      Thank you!

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