Sydney Rotigel-Finegan, 18

Sydney Rotigel-Finegan, originally from Battle Creek, Michigan, has been published in various publications of youth writing center Read and Write Kalamazoo, and in The Reflection, her high school newspaper. Rotigel-Finegan first fell in love with writing as a means of emotional release. In time, she learned to also appreciate its ability to express emotions and information to others.  

Though she is passionate about a multitude of issues, if she had to choose one to champion, it would be reducing the stigma around mental health. Rotigel-Finnegan is also an advocate of ensuring everyone has equal access to proper health care. She was awarded the category of Best Delegate for press corps in Michigan State University’s Model United Nations conference, and is an editor for various school publications such as The Reflection and Impression a literary magazine.

Rotigel-Finegan will attend Kalamazoo College in the fall and plans to major in English with a focus in poetry and journalism. She plans to pursue education certifications after college and work in education. She hopes that she can make a positive difference in as many lives as she can, inspire those around her, and to reveal truths, whether through news articles, creative writing, education, or all of the above.


We are the Lloru

By Sydney Rotigel-Finegan


If you sprawl on the January sharpness- cloak your collar bones in a shawl of chiffon, frozen hexagons we call snow in Babylon-


and yawn to the profile of czars, gilded crowns studded with half-grown stars, tell me.

Does the pillow-thick air rush to the depths


Of your stomach,

Rest against your vertebrae,

Asleep in the company of

each breath you’ve ever trapped

Beneath your ribcage




Do the sinewy tendrils of half-used breeze

Drift upwards

Shun your lungs in favor of milky rungs

In a one way conversation with above

No longer familiar in language

Attempts to understand refuted

Merely for their presumptions of depth.


Presumptions, assumptions:

That we inhale ‘either’

Exhale ‘or’

That, between the

Earth and sky,

You and I

Is a singular door on which we rely


But we are the Lloru.

We wish for ‘whys’ and for windows

Jar open the frames,

Defiant, Risoriant,

And breathe.