This poem was part of a poetry portfolio by Ezra Lebovitz ’18 that earned a Scholastic National Gold Medal, to be awarded at a Carnegie Hall ceremony in June 2018. Other poems in his collection included “Cracking My Knuckles in Public” and “The Grass Enters.” Additional awards earned by Ezra include a 2017 NJ Youth Poet Laureate Judge’s Choice Award, 3rd Place in the Johns Hopkins Creative Minds Short Fiction Contest, and a NJCTE Bronze Medal for Poetry. Ezra was invited to recite his poetry at the Dodge Poetry Festival at NJPAC in October 2017.
“Champagne” by Ezra Lebovitz
Mango skins in the light:
there’s a poem.
Touch them gentle and pass them over,
scrawl them down in sweetness.
At home, my mother eats mangoes whole: that’s a verse,
yellow and shining like an open eye.
Tender and raw in her hands, try to understand:
this is not my poem. I don’t own this:
all I have is aftertaste and tongue.
A knife drowning in yellow: there’s something.
Something: another way not to speak.
Here’s the story where I pawn off raspberries and gold. Here’s the story
where everything rots but nothing fades away, and here’s the story
where everyone sings and no one goes hungry.
Here’s the epic: where a sliver of fruit
is still enough to sing about.