The world seems dark because no one speaks up. You feel so alone and have an empty heart. The silence is worse than the words that they speak. Because no one is there to fight off the evil I hear from them and see. They say they know what you go through but the truth is that they don't understand you. It's so quiet not peaceful like they say. Where you can relax and be happy and just think all day. This is the silence where you decay. The words that they speak are who you are. You're marked as a large label and can't be who you are. You might even be a star. The silence is deadly and can make or break you. But all you really want to do is just to be you. Have one person break you free with just a few simple words that can set you free. Once the silence is broken and all is done, you can be you and be whatever you want. You are free to be whatever you choose and now do the same and speak the truth!
– Lauren Mattingly, 14, Maryvale High School, Cheektowaga
Readers 18 and younger are welcome to send their original poetry to Poetry, NeXt, Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include name, age, grade and school. Poems must be typed and cannot be returned.