Sarah Kohl, Class of 2026, She/Her/Hers
Caroline Hesko, M.D., PCR Advisor
My life has always been defined by red.
I remember the red hamper when I was young. I remember being dropped out of it and hitting my head.
And then I don’t remember.
My world is now on fire.
Yellow and crimson flames lick
at the house I grew up in, the only home I had known until this point.
The nightmares about the heat and smoke have not stopped, even 50 years later.
I have been running from the fire my whole life, and now my son runs toward it, braver
than I will ever be.
My children astonish me every day with their strength, despite how they grew up.
I stayed with their mother longer than I should have, longer than I could have.
Sickness was no excuse for the searing abuse
hurled at my children. I stayed to protect them.
Fiery, red anger fills me now.
This fire is different from what keeps me from what I love doing most in this world.
The rush of pinning my opponent to the mat is unlike any other.
Feeling the tension of a joint as I twist it, almost to the breaking point.
But the pain. Every joint, every muscle aching, keeping me from my passion.
I clutch at my chest, the burning now inside of me.
Ruby blood pumps
through my arteries, blocked from where needed most.
I can leave soon and will continue my scarlet-tinged life.
But soon I will be defined by blues, browns, and greens.
I will go home to my farm and my animals and my plants.
And no more red.