Peer Review by nataley cox (United States)

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Graceful Descent

By: gayatrirajan

I envy the engineering of birds.
Descendants of dinosaurs, witness

to every era. When seething magma whispered smoke
across the earth, they floated high above

and watched the world cloak itself in fire.
I’d always hoped to wake up new. To float high above,

glide on perfect wax wings, gaining distance
from my heritage. The genesis of otherness,

the origin of a tribe, is not a family tree, redwood
skin, a language with rolled r’s and puckered l’s

thrown in. I can’t remember when I realized
that interesting wasn’t a compliment, that ethnic

didn’t mean beautiful. But maybe it could. My lineage
is poetry, scrap metal and cracked asphalt,

three generations under one roof and mother-
​tongues biting into one another, bare feet pounding

against grass. We’ll dance till apocalypse, let our accents
overwhelm the spines of our speech.

So back to the drawing board then, the life without
charred wax wings. An existence with pungent dinners,

with accented syllables, with songs, drumming beats
pulsing in our Honda. For so long, I’d envied

the birds. Their maddening lightness, untethered
to wind, floating freely amongst the trees.

But right now, right here, laughing loud and quick
amid staccato speech: oh, yes,

this feels like flying.

Written by Gayatri Rajan, age 14

Peer Review

This piece left me truly understanding what the author was describing. Our whole lives we've had our heritage, our cultures and our lives, building up so high not even skyscrapers can reach to there magnitude, and birds just soar high above us. The are the ones who are truly free in a society with so many chains holding us to the ground.

No, the author used excellent metaphors and similes. The only thing I would want to see added to his piece is maybe some stronger vocabulary. Otherwise, I love this.

My favorite lines were "To float high above, glide on perfect wax wings, gaining distance from my heritage." These lines truly capture the meaning of free. Our society has chained us down, while birds are truly free. Who would want to be a bird?

Never get too frustrated at your own mind. Even if it seems as if your failing, failure means that you're learning.

Reviewer Comments

Great work, hope this piece turns out well. You are a very talented writer Gayatri.