Buried in the open water, I sink.
Wild grapes. Elderberry. Pear fruit. You’ll find
a cherry pit under my tongue, my stomach
will reek of fennel bulbs and hyssop.
Ritual bore me a child of mud, orchid and root:
we bathe like we are lauded, until
our lungs collapse & the rope singed
into our necks melts all away. But spirits
are blocked by water, and the animal
small-bones and shells release them,
and in the end there is always a Valley & Still
Water to run over the edge.
So I decorate my hair and call
it a holy thing, I make prayer out of bog
fly & peat & moss—
Swell, the story goes, and I believe it.
Kronborg glitters in the distance. I see men
like ghosts on the turrets, they blink
in and out of being slowly. Obsessively.
I catch myself reaching out
I catch myself reaching & I Catch
Myself and I catch—
until the water comes up to meet me.
FIONA STANTON is a senior Creative Writing major from Boise, Idaho. Her writing has appeared in The Red Wheelbarrow, Valley Visions, and the Henry's Fork Journal. She was also a finalist for the Lake Effect National High School Poetry Contest, and received a National Gold Medal and an American Voices Medal from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She will attend Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina this fall, where she has been named a Patricia Cornwell Scholar in Creative Writing.