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Poetic License

CAS for Database

Sam Rhee

Clifton, Virginia

St. Albans School


one day you become

a poet. your words

in the Podunk Review.

the editor, two strangers,

your mother know the gestalt

of your failed loves. witnesses

to an obscure crime

that is its own punishment.

your carrier pigeon poem

clutches the old question:

do the words on

the bathroom stall prove

the truths you knew about yourself?

or does truth, now and always,

come first?

your stomach knows

poet is more description

than job. you can’t live on it.

you write for others. you

live to write. you live so others

can watch you. that title

general practitioner of dreams

on the door. if everyone sleeps

easy, you starve,

you butcher your pigeons.

the feathers

get stuck in your throat

going down.


This piece was previously published in Sam's school literary magazine.


Taking words away from a writer is akin to suctioning the oxygen that surrounds a fire. Both

need a special kind of fuel to survive, grow, and shine. Sam Rhee illustrates this principle of

sustenance beautifully through their emphasis on poetry as a gateway to fundamental truths,

emotional expression, and human connection.

Sam Rhee is a senior at St. Albans School in Washington, DC.


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