Prize-Winning Student Poetry

Stefanie Silva takes award.

Each year, the SCU English department awards several prizes to students for outstanding writing. Here we share a poem by SCU student, Stefanie Silva, who was the 2005 winner of the Shipsey Poetry Prize. Established in 1954 by Richard W. Schmidt in honor of the late Edward Shipsey, S.J., this prize recognizes the outstanding contribution in the art of poetry as determined by an annual competition.

Silver Creek

A boy I knew killed a kid in Silver Creek last night. He once called me on the telephone and told me he loved me. Only fifteen years old. Seinfeld was on TV that Thursday night, and I didn’t feel like blow-drying my frizzy hair. I wore faded, blue flannel pajamas decorated with white lilies. The moon outside was a yellow blade on a scythe. He had just returned from visiting his uncle in the Philippines. His voice was older than mine, it vibrated like a purring velvet cat, claws retracted. I love you, he said. Then he asked me how much I weighed. I said I could not love him back—I had school the next day. He gave me advice. Be careful. Don’t hang out with losers. Drugs are bad—all that sh** gets you nowhere. Please, he pleaded, I love you so be careful. I scratched my arm and said yes, yes. I should have told him that his jutting cheekbones would one day flood the local news. I should have handed him a white lily: The moon will not help you that night in Silver Creek. The Creek will not glow metallic. You will not bend down and splash the cold creek water onto your sweaty hands.

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