Zadren Hill, 16

Zadren Hill from Birmingham, Alabama, is an aspiring author who is focused on growing his poetry repertoire. He enjoys the great therapeutic benefits of writing, saying that it allows him to be vulnerable and comfortable at the same time. Hill believes that words have no limits; they accept anything their narrator brings forth.

Hill explores activism and peace in his writing. He uses writing as a way to advocate for those who have been silenced and as a way to inspire others to do the same. He has focused his activist passion in speaking against LGBTQ+ discrimination and racial inequality. Hill has been published in The Stars are Lying, an anthology published by Desert Island Supply Co., a youth writing and tutoring center in Birmingham, Alabama. He hopes to attend a university where he can pursue a BFA in creative writing.



By Zadren Hill


When stepping out of my door I look left

I look right

I look forward at fate and say today you will not strike

But I still tread with caution even in broad daylight because danger can see me clearly

And night is danger’s best form which means I blend in with its ill boding stature and become threat to others and to myself

The smell of industrialized street corners cause my mind to hallucinate

I glance behind me for a split second and quicken my pace

Nothing is there but I feel fear shooting a bullet I mean drilling a hole through my head

Like that’s any more comforting

I mistake the laughs of little black boys and girls for cries of terror

And somewhere in the midst of the screaming I hear the familiar pitch of my little brothers, my little cousins

Innocent little black children

I flinch at every pop of the jumprope kissing the concrete.. because my hearing reconstructs it into a gunshot

I back away from the sound frantically knowing that I can't save them

But death wearing a white robe and a hood had a rope around my neck pulling me to see her finest work

I reach the crime scene and see the corpses of black children playing in the blood stained grass

And cops making 9 millimeter pointer layups with a black man’s head

But my mind was too faded to question why was there a goal in the middle of a graveyard

Maybe it was symbol to tell me that I would finish here in my youngest years

I should be home with my momma

I back away from the scene holding back tears that will drown me in this nightmare

But death shoved me forward with her frigid hands with acrylic nails made from souls of colored men and women who left the living just a little bit too early says statistics

I move forward and hopscotch through pools of blood with inmate numbers taunting the surface

Inmate 1 (Hands Up)

Inmate 2 (Hands Behind Your Back)

Inmate 3 (Hold Up Your Mugshot)

Inmate 4 (Handcuffs In Front)

Everywhere I step there's danger at every corner waving at me with a seductive sneer on his lips

I wish I could be that little kid who yearns for his mother at night because he believes there's a monster in his closet but no, there's only a monster in his mirror

And the death of him will always be because of how he looked in that reflection

I take a deep breath

And step out of the door