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Hacienda Heights

Check out the winners of our 2021 Fall Poetry Contest

1st Place: “Chlorophyll”

by Melanie Zhong

I heave a sigh of summer’s last dregs,
inhale the crisp cold where I stand,
on the astroturf that covers my front lawn,
and reminisce on broken pacts with myself,
coalesce thoughts as the final act begins,
again.

I look down at the fake grass,
where real loquat leaves lie upon it, 
light brown, oval crown
bereft of chlorophyll,
they lose me in a reverie 
of how I felt, 
last year. 

Autumnal equinox,
stripping leaves from steady branches,
each one’s chlorophyll dissipating 
in fall’s wrenches,
my spur, my reason faded out,
leaving behind a dull, pale yellow,
exposed for anyone to trample about,
crunch.

Bygone dreams filtered away,
in came a flurry of windswept passengers,
yellow, brown, yellow, brown,
resembling the monotony
I’d come to know so well. 

This year around, 
I hope the leaves burn crimson,
a good sign, 
of passion, fiery, vigor, courage, 
strength, determination,
autumn’s first faithful pledge.

A pigment called carotene,
allows me to cling, 
even as I lose my summer green.


2nd Place: “Sweet-Toned”

by Victor Espinosa

My ears danced when I first heard her 
She was loud and unintelligible 
Her noise was that of lush vibrancy 
She could speak no words 
yet the Colors chatted heavy; 

Often I heard her, as a boy and as a man 
Inescapable wherever I opened my ears 
apparent in every black Mirror my eyes fell into 
I know her well, and rest upon her foundation – 
she is everywhere yet I have not met her 


3rd Place: “Refuge in the Fall Foliage”

by Isabella Gonzalez

Drowning in the stagnancy of everyday life, 
She found it fit to flee. 
With adversities so abundantly rife, 
She sought a life carefree. 

In contrast to the egomaniacs and prima donnas,
Those consumed by vanity and greed, 
She found comfort in flora and fauna. 
Calmness and serenity: the new life she would lead. 

Creatures of all kinds, trees with leaves of bronze and amber, Welcomed her with open arms, 
Assuring she would forever be safe and secure.
Ensuring protection from every harm. 

Her purpose was fulfilled, 
And her soul was uncovered. 
A perpetual state of thrill 
As there was much to discover.

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