People & Places

YWP: July Sweetness

Young Writers Project, an independent nonprofit based in Burlington, engages young people to write and use digital media to express themselves with clarity and power, and to gain confidence and skills for school, the workplace and life.

Check out the most recent issue of The Voice, Young Writers Project’s monthly digital magazine. Click here.

Each week, VTDigger features a writing submission – an essay, poem, fiction or nonfiction – accompanied by a photo or illustration from Young Writers Project.

YWP publishes about 1,000 students’ work each year here, in newspapers across Vermont, on Vermont Public Radio and in YWP’s monthly digital magazine, The Voice. Since 2006, it has offered young people a place to write, share their photos, art, audio and video, and to explore and connect online at youngwritersproject.org. For more information, please contact Susan Reid at [email protected].

“Vermont,” by Eva Mazur, 13, of Charlotte.

After a long, harsh winter, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Vermonter out there who doesn’t crave the saccharine, maple creemee-filled charm of our summer months. This week’s featured poet, Ava Rohrbaugh of Charlotte,caters to the sweet tooth aching in all of us as she celebrates July’s sugar-spun sand and sun.

July sweetness

By Ava Rohrbaugh, 16, of Charlotte

July comes in a candy wrapper,
so sweet my teeth hurt,
so sweet that June seems sour
and August looks savory.

July mornings spin clouds of sugar.
I reach out and pull handfuls 
from the sky;
they melt into nothing on my tongue.

July noontime sun
softens the beach dunes
into brown sugar,
burning my soles
as I sprint for the surf.
Children shape it into castles,
and the sweeping waves 
dissolve it into molasses.

July afternoons, I sit in
geometric shadows
and watch goldfish glide
in tanks of blue raspberry slushie,
their bubbles rising to the surface
slowly in the thick syrup.

July evenings, the sun floats
like a drop of honey on the horizon,
clouds swarming like pink and orange bees
as the sugar soaks into 
the New York mountains.

July is overwhelmingly sweet,
31 candies to be unwrapped,
and we all lose ourselves
indulgently
like children
in a candy store.


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