Julia Wolff Places First with “The Beast”


Congratulations to 10th Grader Julia Wolff, who won first prize in the Wednesday Club of St. Louis’s Annual Poetry Contest! The contest is in its 94th year, and celebrates the creative work of St. Louis students and residents. Works were judged by poetry professors and scholars, with the high school judge remarking about Julia’s work: “This surrealistic and metaphorical exploration of the dark and ferocious self…captured me and did not let me go.”

The Beast by Julia Wolff ‘22
I slowly reached my hand into my throat
and pushed it down my esophagus
into my stomach
the walls were slippery
and my hand started burning
but before I could retreat I felt
rows of sharp teeth latch on to my skin
I cried out in despair,
not knowing what was there.
I flailed around for some time
before it detached itself and I pulled my hand out
the skin was bubbling from acid and
I saw three rows of streaming blood
on either side of my thumb
I wondered who had put this creature inside of me
as I washed my hands
and put some Band-Aids on. That should do it.
Had they slipped it into me at night, during sleep?
Did I catch the flu?
I sat so long with blood soaking through
my Band-Aids
that I came to the conclusion that I
couldn’t come to a conclusion.
Why did the reason really matter anyway?
It was here now.
And something had to be done about it.