Julie Dawkins

Grade 12
Edmond, OK
Southwest Region

Julie Dawkins is a 17-year-old junior at Deer Creek High School. She is a percussionist in her high school band and has danced at Classical Ballet School for seven years. Additionally, Julie is engaged in politics and has participated in the Oklahoma YMCA Youth and Government state conference for the past two years as a mock attorney. In the summer of 2018, Julie participated in the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for creative writing. She is a proud middle child—her older brother is a freshman in college and her younger sister is in 8th grade. (Middle children are definitely the best, she says.) Julie is highly influenced by her surroundings, especially growing up in Oklahoma as a nonreligious liberal. She believes that poetry (and art in general) can change the world for the better, and she wants to be a part of that change however she can.

    Dear Earth

    I would fall to my knees
    and beg your forgiveness—water
    your dirt with my tears if
    you wouldn’t split the ground beneath me
    for my hypocrisy.

    I eat the meat of your children, carved
    in factories that strangle your lungs;
    the combustion of gasoline compounded from the life
    of my ancient forefathers and drawn
    from your guts feeds my convenience. Maybe

    I could become one of those women
    who make their wombs barren
    in solidarity with you. But

    even then—just another manifestation
    of selfishness, how much it would hurt
    to bring life into your hands as they crumble
    in the wind. Giving birth in a burning
    building while half of the firefighters
    shout that there is no fire and light
    cigarettes with the flames. Can

    you forgive me my greed? Or is
    that yet another self-serving
    act, asking you to soothe my sunburnt
    guilt with gentle palms, spread

    aloe vera along my reddened shoulders? I
    taste the unsustainability in
    the shampoo
    as I rinse my chlorine-soaked hair
    in hot water.

Read more of Julie’s Poetry