little dove

by Sofia Toledo

Jagged are the thorns veiled by the pretense of love

There to keep her safe, 

Or so she’s told

Always intending to keep their permanent, 

Piercing hold.

She carries this suffocating veil; 

It flies off her, lifted away 

By the beak of a teary eyed black dove

Don’t they know 

How their sharp edges pierce the skin,

How they scar and ache and leave 

Her forever changed?

Look! Is it gone? Did the bloody, gaping holes close?

No, but the crimson veil no longer covers them

And the thorns remain apathetic

As the red consumes her midnight feathers.

Know it was not only the little dove who cried

For it is a choice to not 

See the cracks as they widen bit by bit.

It is a twisted love that says she must not disagree.

Still their blade remains unapologetic 

Comfortably cutting away 

At the parts they didn’t see fit,

All the while still cutting away at me

Sofia Toledo (grade 12)


My name is Sofia Toledo and I am a senior. In school I am president of Premed Club and Spanish Honor Society, and I am an active member of the Model UN team. Outside of school I like to watch movies, go to the beach, and go out with friends.

what message do you hope to convey to the reader through your piece?

My hope is to convey that there is great validity in feeling caged or weighed down by expectations, and how they inflict pain even if they are not created with the intent to cause you any harm.

what was the most difficult part of your writing process for this work?

I spent a couple hours trying to create a cohesive rhyme scheme and 10 syllable line metric, and then once I had it I decided I didn’t like it and reverted back to free verse.

who you write sporadically or regularly?

I’d say ideas come to me rather sporadically but I plan to start committing a regular, scheduled time to writing.