You don’t know what I’d give to be charming sometimes,

But I’d rather drink bottles of

whatever substance oozes out of a clenched fist.

Plant a kiss like a bomb, tell a joke in a mine,

But don’t carry the spoils of what others lost first.

There are shavings of gold in these trenches so vast,

buried somewhere here neatly by decades of chance,

but it’s so hard to search with my gunpowder hands,

Though existence as always is nice, very nice.

Now we sing so the cogs in our lungs don’t rust shut;

We all pity the rats who have more than ourselves.

Youth’s an idolized scam, if you ask ghosts like me,

But the problem is, nobody asks anymore.

Ren Koppel Torres is the teen author of fantasy novel The Shadow in Her Pocket. Ren was born in New York City in a Jewish-Mexican-American family and now lives in Austin, Texas. Ren writes for publications including Writer's Digest and is passionate about art, music, poetry, and promoting child literacy.