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WITS Anthology Poem Live from PBF

On November 5th, Belen Mendoza Cortes from Woodburn Wellness, Business, and Sports school read her poem, “The Room at the End of Apartment 20,” alongside nine other WITS anthology contributors at the 2022 Portland Book Festival.

Nearly 200 students, educators, family members, and festival attendees gathered at the Portland Parks Foundation Stage for the launch of the 2021-22 Writers in the Schools anthology, To the End, Through the Tunnel, which is named after a line from Belen’s poem.

Read Belen’s poem in full here, and hear an excerpt from her 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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