Alex Greenberg


I once spent an entire summer afternoon
outside my house on the bay.
While the roses were tying knots
on the foot­trail
and the moss on the ground
had begun to form their own islands,

I was behind a place mat
at my dining room table,
contemplating how a teenager
is a lot like a red balloon
caught to the flagpole of a school
or the spokes of a ramshackle bike.

The way the two grapple
day in and day out
with an adversary unfit to listen,
too rugged to feel their pull.
The way they hold air inside of them
as if to prepare for a great outcry,
their lungs filling like the stuffing
in a toy bear.

But what I really think about
is how they both rise
the instant you let them go.
Head­butted by the wind,
continuing because of an
energy inside of them
that knows only upward.

I look at the knife on my napkin.
I think about how the only way
to bring them down
is to puncture them.
I think of how their red
will spatter everywhere.

Alex Greenberg is a 14 year old aspiring poet. His work can be found  in recent or upcoming issues of The Louisville Review, Literary BohemianCuckoo Quarterly, Spinning Jenny, and as runners-up in challenges 1 and 2 of the Cape Farewell Poetry Competition. He recently won a gold key in the Scholastic Arts and Writings Awards and was named a Foyle Young Poet of 2012.