Lilian Yong – (Year 12, Epsom Girls Grammar School, Auckland)
This is the Age, you say,
and elbows send the bitter cup
that scrunches your eyes and shrivels your cheeks
into a precarious tilt.
(You said that it would grow on you.)
Oh, I say,
your excitement not catching.
Things are still, stagnant.
The best days of our lives, you continue,
and later, when you can't get the window
open fast enough, I see that you
had carrots, discoloured, descending
in a thin soup of acid and wine.
And later, between more facial contortions,
you say it will only get better,
and I can't help but smile.