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CAS for Database

Sabrina Guo

Syosset, NY

Syosset High School


Dedicated to all those who are no longer with us

following the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas

High School Florida shooting on February 14, 2018

In old Christian myths

women and children

were entombed

for protection against

disasters of weather

or war: virgins lost

to German lakes,

infants buried under

castle fortresses and bridges

to ward off tsunamis

or armies.

But the songs

of the sacrificed

are never silent—

they become wind

over the ocean,


long after

each fortress crumbles.

This, Peter Wang knew

the moment he heard the blasts

of the AR-15 semi-automatic.

Buffeted by the screams,

he held the door for his classmates

and his teachers, bound

to act with honor

by his Junior reserve uniform

of pressed grey-blue,

with a gold-pinned,

black insignia stitched

into the shape of wings

across his shoulders—

a hero, even as fear

staggered through him.

No time to think, just

the torrent of his blood

like a gash of grief

in his mother, heaving sobs,

begging to wake

from her nightmare:

Baby, hold my hand,

she says, Reach me.

Newsprint can’t capture

Peter Wang’s casket

as it is carried away,

stars and stripes

blanketing his memory,

still in uniform,


with a Medal of Heroism,

and a Certificate of Appointment

to West Point, 2025—

the year he would have graduated.

We share the same birthday, he and I,

except one of us

will smell the fresh-cut grass

of a college campus

and remember

what’s been lost. Our stories

will never overlap,

except in the gentle March breeze

as I walk to school, whispering

through half-open windows, to the soft

flap of curtains, to the silhouette—

in the silence, I listen.


Much like the desensitized manner in which teenagers speak today, this sharp, witty voice doesn’t quite obscure the genuine sadness beneath. Irony and a deeper sense of grief seep through the fast-paced writing; the resulting story leaves its reader feeling a strange mixture of amusement and sorrow without quite knowing why.

Sabrina Guo attends Syosset High School in Syosset, NY, class of 2023. She is the recipient of five National Gold Medals and the Civic Expression Award from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Her work is featured in the Best Teen Writing, Counterclock, The Phoenix, Canvas Literary Journal, among others.


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