Welcome to our new bi-weekly feature School Lunch. At Lunch Ticket, our mission is to cultivate a platform for underrepresented and misrepresented communities. We are dedicated to expanding our outreach and opening our platform up to underserved communities, which we believe starts with young voices. So we’re serving up a sampling of the best work this community as to offer. A youth spotlight, School Lunch is a curated bi-weekly feature offering fiction, poetry, flash prose, personal essay, YA, and creative nonfiction, from writers ranging from ages 13-17. Enjoy these emerging writers and leaders of the future.
I’ve Stayed in the Front Yard/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Brendan Nurczyk
My father never drank except at Christmastime, I’ve
never seen a brown bottle drain until I was seven, stayed
at my grandmother’s house and knew the skank smell of alcohol, in
winter where cigarette smoke looks ghostly, the
ash tray a black patch of night, he sat on the steps in front
A Communal Announcement/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Isabella Dail
Our planet is suffering from an ongoing environmental crisis, and it seems that our citizens are contributing to the problem. Due to misleading information, our community has been focused on what was once considered a healthy, environmentally friendly diet: veganism. However, clinical trials have revealed a new diet that is far superior: carnivorism, an innovative lifestyle that focuses on only eating meat. . .
Seventeen/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Abigail E. Calimaran
I’m 17, and I am always in love, but never with myself. I eat lunch on a Saturday alone.mI spend fifty dollars on books.
I knit an ugly, mustard-colored scarf.
The Probability of Vincent/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Madison Durand
He lets his boiling tears well up and spill down his face. In the pulsing world outside Vincent’s consciousness, it becomes difficult to tell whether the man shivers at the cold around him or the cold in his head.
海の涙. (sea tears.)/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Julia Vu
The tide pools stank of brine and salt. Chunks of rotting seaweed dried out from the sun were stuck between the shallow crags, waiting for the ocean to pull them back out into the sea. The song appeared to be coming from the direction of a cluster of several large jagged rocks.
The Sun Returns/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Ariana Duckett
I could always tell how she was doing by the number of tea mugs by the sink. Did they leave rinds of spilled dregs next to the faded plastic basin? Did she use her favorite mug or grab one at random? […]
Almost Ghazal for Broken Girlhoods / Aubade for Our Re-opening/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Alexa Theofanidis
for wiping her hands into hourglasses, say forget this picture, say wif with more teeth, veil of sand funneling itself into woman: wif.
To the Republic / My Mind, My Body and I/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2021 / Lizzy Young
The next person I was supposed to call just so happened to be named Justice. My generic script read, “Is Justice there?” I giggled. I was wondering the same thing. I dialed in the phone number, And the voicemail lady answered, She said, “I’m sorry. The number you dialed is unavailable.”
Blindfolded/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Safaa Ali
I gazed at the home, a lighthouse among the static, muted surroundings. I prudently adjusted my hat and rehearsed in my head exactly what I would have to recite to the ingenuous Gilbert family when and if I saw them. As I limped to the door, I felt my stomach retch with uneasiness and heave with discomfort.[…]
Regrets?/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Alisson Mbonjo
Now I understand why others stayed silent while being dragged. They were thinking about the life that they had lived, as I was doing now. But what I couldn’t understand was why I hadn’t lived. How could I have wasted my life doing things I hate to train for an assessment that I was going to fail anyway?[…]
I WALK/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / JoliAmour Dubose-Morris
Every time I take the 7 Train, relaxing beside the wall, I notice the lineaments of each building with indented violet windows. I enjoy listening to the accompanying passengers’ music. I’m aware of how utopic our sky is. I’m aware of it all.
Pulled Apart/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Lily Neusaenger
When you cry, you stare at yourself with more love than you know what to do with. You wish your lashes always looked that dark and your eyes always looked that bright and your cheeks always looked that red and beautiful, spreading life-giving heat against your pale, glowing skin. You feel yourself splitting in two.[…]
Famous / Did I Say The World Was Fair? / Male Privilege Applies To God Too/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Su Ertekin-Taner
It was no coincidence that God created Adam first Because Women cannot be molded without there First being a man To create them To tempt them To crave them To devour them Adam’s ribs Were not given to Eve’s bosom Because of his generosity Were they? […]
Lonely Spiders / Motor Vessel Sewol/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Juheon Rhee
She doesn’t feel my moist hands trail up her chin, up to the wings of her eyes tracing the buttery suns—of my bloated body keeping me afloat.[…]
Yellow Filter/ Mother lies/ when ready to sky/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Esther Kim
where can i pull
a kind of madness from—
from perilla leaves?
Life’s a Gamble/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Isabella Cheung
Quinn knew that his night was spoiled as soon as Monique Zambrano had walked down the grand staircase leading to the casino floor. She was in her usual choice of formal attire—a strapless, floor-length dress that was blackened velvet, much like how she described her soul.
Time and Through/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Wendy Chang
It is hard to believe how fast time can travel. Before you know it, an on-going event will become a precious memory. As time passes further, these memories will slowly dry, “decay”, as if they’re something solid. No emotions will be stirred up again thinking of these memories.[…]
Saccharin / The Great Wenhua Family / A Brochure for Powdered Faces and Black Dresses/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Sarah Zhang
The bike, sleek and glacé, was a gift from her bàba.Made of maraschino cherries, the sugar syrup dripped, coating her hands. The food color dyes her fingers.[…]
Popcorn Machine/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Ashley Renselaer
Courtney sailed through her mother’s Facebook page hastily and yet steadily. This was the act of an expert browser who had seen every corner of that familiar and cherished page a countless number of times and knew where every mundane click would lead to. She knew how many pictures were posted and where, how many status updates there were, her mother’s favorite music, books, and upcoming events. […]
Mental Colonialism / A Promise of Promise / Clipped Wings/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Harsha Venkataraman
I often wonder of the women before me, what if they were encouraged to soar? What farther heights could we reach? if half our wings were not caged away.[…]
Odessa/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Eleanor Hunger
One of the mountains of belongings had seemingly collapsed into the negative space, leaving a sloping pile that scattered out several feet on either side. But amongst the avalanche of things, the hill of hard, solid, tangible objects, was something organic.[…]
Writing a Memory Down to Save It/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / S. E. Swea
ink is no different from skin, hair, spit and sweat: it bleeds, it weeps, it cakes like peat. And writing a memory down will not save it. […]
Adam’s Apples / LITANY FOR TRANSIT / 12/21/12/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / J. Xiang
on the day the world ends you pray for a portal to open above the teacher’s head, shining deep cosmic blue saying you weren’t wrong, that you deserve better than the ones who say you deserve better than the futures you already predict in cold-handed silence, in the words you read and will read again […]
Overhoard/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Judy Xie
On nights like this, I’ll watch Hoarders to learn/unlearn empathy (for my mother). I love them, I cry with them, and I think I understand. Sitting criss-crossed in a pile of clothes, I fix ramen, wait (for you) to come home […]
Harth rem ir Estevan is Dead/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Marion Deal
Harth rem ir Estevan is dead. It is the first time that I have read The Left Hand of Darkness, and I find that I have fallen for the brisk, deep honor of its principal nation, Karhide, and the empirical myth of its glacial world, Winter. In this place that LeGuin has created, an immaculately curated, textured oral tradition sits with craft and tact, unfurling honor clean and easy like butter.[…]
Beautiful Like Us/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Dana Serea
We’re fourteen years old, with pudgy cheeks, flowered Converse and crooked teeth. It’s the summer before freshman year, and we’re lounging on couches in my living room with our eyes narrowed at the TV screen. My best friend, Lindsey, sighs quietly and says[…]
The Fort Jackson Dam Can Take No More, DICTIONASARUS, Roman Prelude #1/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Charlotte Hughes
What’s left is
the local newsreels;
the WLTX women staring pixelated […]
School Lunch: Time Zones/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2020 / Lisa Croce
The day after he left the city, I fluttered awake feeling gloriously pretty. The night before had been so surreal, so bittersweet, that just thinking about it made me a little dizzy. And he was supposed to call soon. I looked down at my fingers, reminding myself that they had touched him just hours before, and realized that they were shaking.[…]
Girlhood/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2019 / Lydia Wei
i am six when i am called fat for the first time.
late spring, snack time at daycare, two oreos on a paper plate.
a still life, if you will: outside the window the peonies are blooming,
so swollen & violent with the fullness of being. i feel overripe,
too soft, like a cosmos-bruised plum from the supermarket clearance […]
Nightingale and Nature/in School Lunch, School Lunch 2019 / Ujjwal Sagar
A brief idea about “True Love and Nature”: A nightingale had laid three eggs in a nest of a small Christmas plant at my house. Since then, the nightingale cared for all three eggs.[…]