“2013,” by Ixca Lopez-Aleshire won this year’s Youth Poetry, Prose and Pizza Slam hosted by the Brattleboro Literary Festival.

Here’s Ixca on her work and writing life:

“I’m 17 years old, I grew up in Oakland, California but came to Vermont to go to the Putney School my sophomore year. I’ve been writing poetry since about 5th grade, but I really became interested in spoken word last year. This is my first time being published!”

Green Mountains Review couldn’t be prouder to showcase this young writer and her amazing work. Congratulations, Ixca.

*Trigger warner for disordered eating

The summer of 2013
Was seen through rose tinted sunglasses

We gathered at Christa’s house,
Solemnly toasting to “the last year”

Now,           Summer 2013 tastes like raspberry pie with no sugar
And the air in the house is hot and so thick and heavy it is weighing everyone down

2013 feels like the melted glaciers you and me dived into
           We stand at the edge of the dock and stare down at the identical girls staring back up at us
The one that looked like me but wasn’t
Reaches out her hands
Inviting me to remove baggy shorts that clung to my hip bones like a daughter clings to her mother’s leg

           I think about how this kind of love could be the love of my life and what destroys me in the same breath
And I hear the second girl,           asking why I refused to eat Abuelitas caldo
But it’s a question we both know the answer to
Made of chicken bones and cebolla, mixing together into salty sorrow and seasoned with heartbreak,
The kind of heartbreak that overcame you as soon as you smelled it

           I can still remember the way his eyes lingered on my chest
And I finally had the approval I wanted
So I continued running on air
And stuffing food in my pockets when no one was looking
           And celebrating food poisoning because of the way it made my stomach shrink

On Christmas morning I wake up drenched in sweat from a sleep full of nightmares about food
           We open presents
           I count calories
           My mom asks why
And I say Why isn’t she proud

We do not go to Christa’s house this year

Again I think about how loving someone with so much of yourself means them watching your every move
How perfect and pure and innocent is so east to taint
The way I mess up every new pair of sneakers on the first day of wearing them
           How effortlessly a clean slate can be influenced
           How repeating patterns instilled over generations is beginning to feel like second nature
And because if history repeats itself, I don’t want her to follow in her mother’s footsteps

And I don’t want her to be like me