We had another outstanding Exclusive Ink session this afternoon, with our Shortridge students capturing animals with their words, as Ted Hughes does in his poem “The Thought Fox.” Beyond simply being mined for Money Lines, several of the poems screamed to be shared in their entirety as fantastic examples of the creative capabilities of the teenagers we’ve been working with.

The first is a prose poem about a wolf from one of our sophomores. Note: These eloquent and provocative turns of phrase are all his, without any intrusion from our tutors.

Demented creature, mind marks it in-depth with death. The innocent face engulfed in the canary eyes that leave an imprint in the darkness. Silence, then a barrage of growls preceding the departure of the departed. A forest radiating scarlet. A flash, then farewell pawprints in vision before being swept from the scene that never had dialogue, but demonstrated the circle of life. Violence, this hunter thought, can’t be compared to the shiniest trident. A thirst for hunger never quenched in the river’s silence. Tired of chasing meals, but finally trapped in tactics. An urge to disgorge prey, then emerge from a massacre of satisfaction.

The second is from one of our newest Exclusive Ink regulars, a seventh-grader (!). It’s hard to believe this poem about a mouse was inspired by the same prompt, but that’s the kind of diversity of talent we’re blessed with.

Mom shrieks.
She leaps through the air,
Ten feet back.
Heart attack.

Little feet skitter across the floor.
Beady eyes look,
Searching for something more.
Harmless, it looks.
Well, at least to me.

Little mouse,
Caged in the wall.
Why won’t you set yourself free?
The air in here is suffocating.
The people are lazy and boring.

Yet when you come out,
Your eyes always
Search, search, search
What are you looking for,
Little mouse?

Why search my humble home,
Where the air is dry as a bone,
Where my mom hides lurking in the shadows,
Where my siblings hide poison beneath the sink?

Are you lonely, little mouse?
Are you scouting for a humble house,
A place to call home,
Where you no longer feel alone?
Why not out in the world, little mouse?

I feel so trapped in this house.
Walls, walls
Closing in.
Sometimes I feel like giving in
To the madness of being caged.

Little mouse, between my mittens,
Be fr–
Oh no,
You were just eaten by a kitten.