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WITS Student Anthology Title Poem

Each year, Literary Arts publishes an anthology of student work created in the Writers in the Schools residencies. This year, we received nearly 130 submissions—double what we’ve received in the two years prior.

We choose one line from a poem each year to title the anthology, and that poem becomes the first piece in the book. The 2021-22 WITS Student Anthology is called To the End, Through the Tunnel, and it’s pulled from the poem by a student at Woodburn Wellness, Business, and Sports school in Woodburn, Oregon where we started a WITS partnership in 2021.

The WITS Anthology will be launched at the 2022 Portland Book Festival on November 5, where students will read their published pieces on stage.

You can read Belen’s powerful piece below.

The Room at the End of Apartment 20
Belen Mendoza Cortes

To get to the end you must go through the tunnel
Through the halls that hold comfort yet anguish
Passed the doors that open forgotten memories

The room at the end of apartment 20 holds everything that
I am
Have been

It is
Filled with the many hugs
The many bendiciones and prayers near my collection of rosaries gathered from the visitors and visits
The many goodnights I whispered to my roommate in which I played my corridos tumbados playlist which she pretended not to like but I would still catch her red handed humming the lyrics
The many 143 from my mother slash best friend and the response of every I love you too
The 10 year worn out blanket in the corner that I find warmth in every night
The growing bookshelf that I hope to one day fill with newly discovered knowledge yet filled with random and necessary objects
The mirror with the broken border that reminds me every day of my features which creates a variation of feelings each and every single time

The room at the end of apartment 20

It is
Everything I am fearful and ashamed of
The bed in which I laid starting at the ceiling as revelations came to light
The pillows no longer dry soaked with remorse
The hope of a future certificate hanging above my bed

The room at the end of apartment 20

Is not all I will ever be

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