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A Dream? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

I was in the car on my way to school one day,
When I looked out the window and saw a tree.

This was no ordinary tree.
Hanging off of it, like leaves,
Were pieces of trash.
Plastic bags, candy wrappers,
You name it, it was there.

I rubbed my eyes,
Thinking I was mistaken.
I was not.

I looked down at the grass through my window.
It, too, was littered with trash.

How can we continue producing this waste
and overuse?
We are escorting ourselves to an end,
the end where it all runs out –

An end where people cry from the
gnawing pain in their stomachs,
Doubling over from the emptiness
which lies within.

Where shards of glass fly as crowds break
into stores,
Looking for an extra piece of food.

An end where children lie, fever-ridden, on stripped-down beds,
Their eyes rolling back into the darkness of their brains,
Their parched lips desperate for a sip of water.
You should be alarmed.

Because it's not far away.
It's quite near.

Because all of the carelessness
Of previous generations –
The water that they pumped mercilessly from the ground,
Until the dry earth cracked and they moved on to the next source,

The piles of beer cans and plastic bottles
That they scattered throughout the ocean,
Murdering the animals with their toxic chemicals,
The smoke guzzling out of factories, reaching up
To the heavens, grasping and choking the air,
The oil that they guzzled, ignoring its
limited supply,

With the mindset that these resources would
Always be available, would never run out,
They all brushed off these actions,
secretly admitting
That they don't care about what happens to us,
Their nameless children, generations later –
Their children whose water drips out slowly,
Sullied with dirt and power-plant chemicals,

Their children to whom it is always winter,
For the trees can no longer grow
Their children who suffer the consequences
Of their waste, of all of their overuse –

All of that has finally built up.
It is all finally here.
And what we will be left with
Is a garbage-filled world,
A barren world.
It seems that we've finally run out –

And that was when it dawned on me:
2012 wasn't the end we should be afraid of.
This is.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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