Peer Review by korra4life (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

The impression that this poem leaves on me is breath-taking. I am left with feeling exhilaration and adrenaline as if I was the bird flying,


Not at all, this is great.


"I can't remember when I realized that interesting wasn't a compliment, that ethnic didn't mean beautiful." I love this line because it's true. People tend to throw out words and phrases and the naive mind will accept is as a compliment when that's not what it is. It's just an insult in disguise.


Amazing. Honestly, the only critique I have is to make everything flow better. It's a little scattered and can be a bit confusing but all in all, it's great. Keep going with what you have and definitely build upon it until it flows greatly.


Reviewer Comments

This is a really good poem and I'm glad that you wrote about this. Man, all of the poems that I've read for this competition so far are so great! Keep doing good and don't stop writing.