Paper Empire

By Samantha Mackertich


She drew her empire

      in colored pencil,

sharp lines twisting, defining lives.

Waxed tints soften

     the pages and shade

the world in pastel.


The rivers run with watercolor,

     volcanoes sweat candles.

Clay trees spout

     out of the wet earth, moldable,

and she twists them through

her fingers.


She drew her empire,

graphite                                                 in a world of ink.


She dabs it with cloth

     as ink bleeds in from the edges,

soaks her pastel castles and creeps

from underneath

     acrylic fingernails.


Her kingdom was drawn

in pencil                                               and erased by ink.


She lifts it by the corners,

homes and streets pooling in the cavity

of its chest, and lets go.


Her empire sinks                               through the air and settles

on the oily surface of a driveway

puddle.               Her world dissolves into dark

              swirls of paint.


Samantha Mackertich is a junior at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA, and is a creative writing major. She has been published in the Síbliní Art and Literature Journal, attended the Breadloaf Writing Conference in Vermont, and was a finalist for the Helen Creeley Poetry Prize. Her favorite form of poetry is free verse in couplets. She also enjoys writing screenplays, short stories, and plays.