Elizabeth Shvarts

Staten Island Technical High School, ‘22    “[My] concern is fueled not by hopelessness, but the desire for change. Activists like Greta Thunberg and other students who protest climate change every Friday remind us that the youth has a voice, and it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our future by bringing this topic to the attention of world leaders.”   Elizabeth is a first-generation Jewish American born to Russian parents from both of whom she draws inspiration. She loves reading and is a member of her school’s Glee Club. She is also active in sports, practicing jiu-jitsu and recently taking up fencing. In the future, she plans to study medicine, becoming a neurologist to help those affected by disorders of the nervous system.

Staten Island Technical High School, ‘22

“[My] concern is fueled not by hopelessness, but the desire for change. Activists like Greta Thunberg and other students who protest climate change every Friday remind us that the youth has a voice, and it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our future by bringing this topic to the attention of world leaders.”

Elizabeth is a first-generation Jewish American born to Russian parents from both of whom she draws inspiration. She loves reading and is a member of her school’s Glee Club. She is also active in sports, practicing jiu-jitsu and recently taking up fencing. In the future, she plans to study medicine, becoming a neurologist to help those affected by disorders of the nervous system.

Mother(Nature) to Child

every mother dreams of the day her children,

her fruits of labor, merely fledgling finches whose feathers are stuck with the

saccharine sap of morning dew

saucer eyes agleam with the light of blissful ignorance

can step off the stalwart oak tree at last and spread their wings


every mother longs to know a segment of her soul can now sow seeds that flower

Into

gardens of sunflowers and dandelion wishes

Preserve her presence in the hour of her senescence

and till the soil when her stump is ringed with the creases of time and she

Wheezes

from the weight of balancing on a tightrope torn to threads


a mother only asks for so much

and yet I am left to endure my cruel fate alone, limbs aching,

my last reserves of strength shrunk to the size of sheet ice


bereft of the deftly poured rainwater I was nourished by

now replaced with saline torrents

once kept at bay by me

after all I’ve done

I thought that I’d have taught you a thing or two about reciprocity;

yes I bear the fruit of life itself,

but I am no giving tree


what can bloom in a garden untended? What fauna frolic in forests disfigured by a carbon

Footprint

In a world where jaundiced weeds run rampant


and trample every patch of sunlight that hasn’t
yet been shrouded by the awnings of

slate-colored pop-up shops


or bull-dozed by the burnt rubber of sports car wheels

but you are far too old to blame your reckless driving on the glint of silver striking

your now-hardened eyes

once lit with soft gold curiosity


you are no angel, but an Icarus, wings charred by sun rays

Disgraced,

a big bad wolf who huffs and puffs fumes of methane knowing

someone will suffer in your place


as you watch thousand degree flames consume the world

oil spills taint green and blue with murky hues

from the safety

of an air-conditioned conference room

but you are NOT there to mourn the mothers’ dreams set alight by factory fumes

listen to sonorous shrieks of children with arms outstretched skyward betrayed

by the once welcome heat whose tendrils squeeze them like a vice


they cannot till the soil

let alone sift through the sledge-water that swallows them

whole


every mother dreams of becoming an everlasting flame

stoked by the kindling of her children’s dreams and scattered seeds

Please

 don’t leave my flame to burn

in hell .