This piece placed third for middle school writing submissions in the 2021 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to express the reality of the challenges they or others face and/or how they or others find hope through difficult times. The competition is an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing and art.

Empty Hope

To the people who wake up in the morning with great joy and happiness in the face of darkness
I ask, “How”
To the people who wake up with sadness and hate in the face of Light I ask “Why”
If you live in oblivion then in oblivion you stay
If you live in sadness from the reality of truth
then what's the point of your days in youth?

When locked away in your room all day the feeling you feel is empty
The feeling you feel but can't seem to grasp brings grief to your past
Memories from when times were better shape themselves letter by letter
The word it spells is “Empty”
The deaths you see on the news are “Empty”
The people you lost so fast without goodbye are “Empty”

If you had a chance to come back to when things were better
To when you sat down in the light hoping for better
But now your family and life seem to be in danger all those old times just seem better

I ask one more time with certainty to say the thing you find hope in is always there in your day
Look into the sky for hope for the better,
look at the people behind you for a second
Think about the way they feel and think for another second
2 seconds turn to days and days turn to years but the virus is still here
The answer becomes clear and the virus starts to disappear, the answer was right next to you
Sitting beside you looking minuscule
Look closely and you will see
The thing you waited for in the light
The answer is you and me
The reader, the author
The people, the audience
The lost, the found
We give each other hope by the day
We live for each other and if I dare say
We care for each other regardless of what other people say