Young Poet: Emily Riley

Emily Riley is a 17-year-old high school senior from Arizona. She was selected as a Topical Winner in the National High School Poetry contest and loves to read and participate in her school's color guard program in her free time.

till dawn do us part

late night kisses behind closed doors
no one has to know
you’re mine for the night
unwavering devotion

you write novels on my skin
then tear them to pieces leaving me
severed and shattered
your beautiful work destroyed

no one has to know
whispering poetry in my ears
till dawn do us part
you’re mine for the night

i don’t love him

“i don’t love him,” she says
“you were all that ever mattered”
met with only a blank stare
the damage has been done


A man selling mangoes approaches me on the street. His
steps are light like him, made of bone and not much else.
The cash in my pocket suddenly burns me, making me
jump. The man does not ask if I’m okay. “Mango?” he asks
me, more excited about fruit than he needs to be. I pull out
my cash, burning my hand but offering relief to my leg,
still stinging. I crave the relief of a cool mango. I’ve never
liked mangoes. But the man is bone and my leg is still
burning so I hand him the burning money and he is
unaffected. He hands me a ripe mango and it is cool. I slip
it in my pocket, sighing, and the man looks confused, but
does not say anything. I never eat the mango, letting it only
heal the burns on my leg.