In Juniper Cruz’s “Dear Summer,” rage is entwined with sweet and with death. Cruz’s speaker wears the rage, a “t-shirt you made out of a boy//the one that punched me and kissed me/on the same night(,)” you being Summer, something larger. Wears the t-shirt in memory, memoriam, thankful for both what is lost and what remains. As the poem progresses, Cruz’s speaker addresses not Summer but Irony, then not Irony but Death, though maybe these are synonymous. Cruz gives this gratitude to us, for what comes next. –Robby Auld
Juniper Cruz is a trans Afro-Latina from Hartford, Connecticut. She is currently an undergraduate student at Kenyon College. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, Poets.org, and Beech Street Review.
Honorable mentions: Hannah Brauer (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI); Ashton Carlile (Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY); Ethan Chua (Stanford University, Stanford, CA); Peyton Ipsaro (Kent State University, Kent, OH); Lilly Keefe-Powers (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN); Hannah Sheinkman (Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY)