thinking about those nights

Ilana Drake

as i see her smile,
i think of the times
when her cheeks have
flushed and she has pulled
her hair close to her face to show
that she was “okay,” to show that she was “fine,”
to show that it was utopia
we would run around the
we would move into the
water after rushing down
the slide,
we would tell ghost stories
and life stories before
we sang songs in the
she & i were like yin & yang
so how do those nights
become notes that do
not get played on the
piano, like the way
fingers can forget
the way the music
Ilana Drake is nineteen years old and is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. She is a student activist and writer, and she was appointed to be a 2022-2023 Global Goals Ambassador by the United Nations. Ilana's work has appeared in Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and The Tennessean. Her poetry has been seen in multiple magazines including Bright Lite, Flare Journal, and Same Faces Collective among others ( When she is not writing, she can be found listening to '90s country songs, researching used book shops, and promoting inclusion.

"Camping Cabin at Mill Creek State Park" by J. Stephen Conn is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

The Author
Read More
A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!