before you leave by Ilana Drake


stare out of
the third floor
window to
glimpse at
the forest
which has
not been

watch as
the sun
changes its
position &
let the light
flood the

dance around
like there is
no one there,
the room is
your stage &
the audience
are your stuffed animals

& yes, you
know that
you are
growing up
but savor
these moments because they
will be gone
so soon

run around the
long, wide street
for the last time
before you drive
away from the
& look at the water
lillies resting
& staying in place.

Ilana Drake is a first-year student at Vanderbilt University from New York. She is an internationally recognized student activist and writer. Her work has appeared nationally in Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and YR Media among others. Additionally, she has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Teen Vogue on social justice topics. She has won numerous Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for her work and is an alumna of the Rising Voices Fellowship (2019-2020).