Each year the regional winners of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Gold Keys are entered automatically for consideration for National Awards. Eighth Grader Maura has achieved a National Gold Medal for her poem “Starless Nights,” identifying her as one of the most talented young writers in the nation. Nearly 320,000 works of art and writing were submitted; only the top 1 percent were recognized at the national level. Maura has been invited to attend a ceremony at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, June 2. This is a very special honor, and we congratulate you, Maura! Starless Nights Her splintering smile earns endless tomorrows as she inhales what’s left of her laughter; Stumbles down the path of a lost mind. Tilting landscapes cripple her summer terror and illuminates the image of her eyelids; Frozen shut. Rain Rain has worn down the curves in her face as she stares at paper lines And suddenly she finds herself falling through pavements she’s walked for years. She collects stardust in her little rusted wagon as its flickering essence tumbles from the skies, forming a graveyard of stars in her heartbeat. Her throat is jammed so full of words that they build cities in her tear ducts, crumbling and spilling all at once in a thousand chaotic murmurs and indigo moments. She wears her tears like jewels and sings about mirrors as they roll down her face; each prayer falling for gravity, Splashing Cracking False beauty and fermenting forms. And in her eyes I watched as the constellations changed with every sunset, residing in the soft puff of her breaths. I gave her a bluebird and she fell in love so I cried, dripping tears into her eyes. Slantwise cracks forming in the ocean and the sand is turning red; Her skyline is parting Horizon line opening Wave length shrinking Wave height breaking And it was all because she imagined that her tears were fallen stars but that she; She was a fallen angel. She was the master of lyrical ingestion Touched by sound Sweetly laced with silence. Glowing embers live on, Then, Dipped in the absence of distance Rain clouds gather in her mind Flash flooded with regret as drops of yesterday flood her skull And, Overflow; Embers disappear into the night, Just a little more starlight On a starless night.