“I Am” by Sarah Hartenstine

Sarah Hartenstine (age 11)


I am from overgrown grass,
from old hockey equipment and random alien statues.
I am from the one lonely cricket in my basement.
(Chirping, hopping around,
it sounded like the peepers down my road.)
I am from the green grass,
the tree in my yard
that always seemed to catch the shuttlecock
and never give it back.

I am from the 5-foot giant Darth Vader blow-up Christmas decoration
and loving caffeine,
I’m from Russ and Jess.
And my loving “sister” Angelina in New Orleans.
From the loud obnoxious singing
and making bad jokes about ducks.
From the song “In This Little Town”
and how my mom got her silver combat boots stolen.

I am from fake ghost hunting apps,
and scaring my brother.
I am from Martha’s Vineyard and New Orleans
oysters and crawfish.
From the story about how my godmother ate a slug for $10
and then became best friends with my mom,
and the stories about my dad’s old “bands.”

In my room pictures of these memories cover my walls.
With me in the middle of my family and my brother in front of me.
My crazy family always standing behind me.

from 2018 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Sarah Hartenstine: “I really enjoy rapping. That goes hand in hand with poetry. It’s calming. You can talk about anything, or really nothing. You can take big issues or topics and put your opinion in them. It puts your point of view out for everyone (or no one) to see. Poetry can be long or just one word. It’s just another way to express yourself, but it’s better. There are so many reasons I love writing poetry but it’s so hard to explain all of them.”

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