Pen 2 Paper: The Ones that Got Away February

Every year, Pen 2 Paper receives so many entries that we love, but that never make it to the finalist round. This year, we wanted to recognize some of those from 2017, so we present a monthly web feature: The Ones that Got Away. From January through October, P2P co-coordinators Susie and Laura will each post one of our favorite non-finalists from the 2017 contest. Enjoy!

All entries posted with permission, authors retain all rights.

February 26, 2018

Laura's Pick: Trauma's Shadow Kimberly Vargas Agnese (website:

Trauma's Shadow really got to me. There's so much feeling packed into these seemingly sparse lines. In 83 words, it made me feel cold, grey (can grey be a feeling…?), and uneasy. Vargas Agnese’s imagery and bodily descriptions made my hair stand on end, taking a mental state and making it feel physical. When Bucher submitted her entry, she had this to add: “As a survivor of Acute Stress Disorder, I have had seasons where "shadows of trauma" follow me. I have friends who have been chased by the disorder of PTSD, as well. This poem is a tribute to those who run from shadows." To whoever needs it: I hope Vargas Agnese’s Trauma's Shadow connects with you.

Susie's Pick: The Imperfect World Dr. Arcana Kadam

Dr. Archana Kadam’s The Imperfect World registered with me immediately. It conveys just how difficult life can be for children who are growing up with disabilities and their parents. She points out that no person should be treated cruelly because we are all made in God’s image. This is something I've always thought about myself, and in fact, it keeps me as confident as I am despite having Cerebral Palsy. Then, she takes it a bit further by saying that the whole world can become less imperfect if we could all love each other, combine our differences and perceptions, and include people with different abilities among everyone else. This is also something I believe in personally, and is in line with CTD’s mission. I do have problems with some of Kadam's word choices undermining her overall message, but on the whole, I like and agree with what she has to say.

< Read January's Picks

Read March's Pick >