Mountains Their Thrones

2022 Annual Literary Contest

1st Place
Young Writers Senior (12+)

Roselyn Chen

On the sides of maps, the fraying edges and corners
dragons live, lying in wait

Unknowing travelers
that venture far beyond safety
little do they know…

Scaled bodies, as long and slender as the wind’s fingers
sleek as the moonlight breaking through shadows
powerful as the boulders that block out the sun
and volcanos, spewing dust and flames and ash

On the highest summits, icy peaks piercing clouds
dragons dwell, the mountains their thrones
they fly in circles, around, around

From the sky and sea,
they bring hurricanes— and they are the eye

Far away, dragons perch on steeples
crushing stained glass into fine powder, blowing fire
stocky, scale-covered bodies covered with layers of embers and ash
cackling to the crackling flames

In distant villages, dragons hover, veiled
by layers of red-silk lanterns, topped with tassels of gold
hundreds of people kneel, praying for good fortune, crops and rain
temples as wide as caverns, topped with bright red shingles

On delicate, blue painted vases, sleek bodies with death-sharp claws
winding through clouds and prayers, gentle and powerful

On dusty oil paintings, dragons rising
from foaming waters, wings poised to kill

In the margins of books, tiny dragons
carefully painted, beautiful in deep inks
blessings and curses, hidden in every crevice

If you close your eyes, you can see them all