1 poem

by Mariah Swartz

Big Sky High School


Spit ripples in dirty muck water
River weed and sick yellow leaves float
down slow stream.
Heavy police sirens bounce from highway to
Higgins bridge
off water tops and slick foamy rocks.
They’re not coming for me though.
Two boys throw their poles
reel in old fishing line and river weed.
I’m still hanging off the edge
of the domed tunnel
searching for my body in the bunk of the riverbed.
The cement is cracking
up the wall of the ditch
inviting me in
“Don’t think, just do”
So I jump in
old bridge rails cut my ankles
I’m swimming in thick dark grey
covering my arms
rocks pounding muscles lower

into the bunk of the riverbed.
It’s nice because
I can’t hear anyone speaking
long decayed ears frayed at the drum.
I can feel the cars bumping

the bridge
fish bite my toes
rip toenails from pruney skin
and eyelashes from clenched droopy eyes.
The water isn’t cold anymore
I search to find myself
encased below water rapids
below rooted bushes
below the green sick leaves.
I don’t want you to take me out of the bed
leave me here with the mosquitos
the water bugs
homeless men wanting to rip
the river weed from my body and
skin me like a trout.
Let the current take me
let thick grey clouds reflect muck water.

Don’t worry

I’m still on the edge
Spitting ripples into
muck like water


Mariah Swartz

I am a senior at Big Sky High School in Missoula, Montana. I have lived in Missoula my whole life, and I don't plan on escaping Montana's beautiful mountains any time soon. I am the primary editor for my school's literary magazine, Aerie International. My favorite authors for poetry are Andrea Gibson, Keetje Kipers and Richard Siken. When I am writing, titles are the hardest obstacle for me, so I usually do them last or try to avoid titles. Aside from writing, I spend my time being outside, hanging with friends or sleeping.