“Her” by Ernest Johns

This week, the Beat continues posting work from writers in the Writers in Baltimore Schools (WBS) program. This work was created at WBS’ Young Writers’ Summer Studio, a six-day writing camp held each year in August. This year, the Beat’s Lisa Snowden-McCray and Brandon Soderberg worked with the students for two of those six days. Some of the work here and much more will be published in WBS’ Writers’ Studio anthology out soon. We began with a piece from WBS founder Patrice Hutton and so far we brought you poems by WBS writers Abigail MokubaJahi HeathChristian PearsonKenniah WoodsonA.H. Berry, Gerard Johnson, and Kyra Smith. Today, we have a poem by Ernest Johns…

I look at her

But always from far away

Never up close

I’m shy when it comes to this girl

I don’t know why but when I see her

I get anxious,nervous 

Were friends we talk sometimes like in class

Only in class

she wouldn’t hang out with someone like me

Would she ?


I still have this broken umbrella she gave me on the first day we met

The next day I gave her a good umbrella and kept the broken one she told me to throw it away if I wanted to…

I still have it

A week later I told her about it 

She laughed and called me funny I didn’t see what was funny about it at the time but I was mesmerized by that smile I couldn’t help but smile back


I’m in love with her

Or is that too much

I’m not sure I’m just saying what my heart says 

She is so beautiful,smart,funny,

amazing in every way


Next I’m riding the train home

Once I get off to transfer lines

I felt this nudge on my shoulder

Like as if my attention was being taken from me 

I thought I was about to get robbed

But no it was worse 

It was her 

I tried not to make eye contact

But it was too late 

I could feel my heart pounding against chest

We talked for a bit, she talked way more than me 

But I had no problem with it

I just stood there and listened 

Trying to soak up her words and learn something 

Then she asked me to ride the train with her 

 to her stop

I was amazed she even wanted to be around me

I accepted her request, 

I mean why would I decline

When we got off at her stop we said our goodbyes to each other but she

sealed it with a hug

But not just some regular side hug

A double arm wrap around hug 

With a side of passion and warmth on the side


At that point I thought I had a shot but what if she says no

She won’t say no 

or would she 

I don’t know 

I just know rejection is scary


Why does she make so nervous

What’s the worst that can happen 

I want to give her the world

or at least try my best

(Breath)

Okay let’s give it a shot