Mariah Watson 2015

Poem:     "The Swing"

Story:      "Don't Mess With Grandma"

Poem:     "The Fountain"

Twitter Pieces

After "Diving Into the Wreck"

The Swing


I climb up, up, up, the steep wooden stairs,

look down, and remember how invincible I felt as a child.  

With my backyard below and endless sky above,

I could do anything.


I glide down the yellow plastic slide.

It used to be the ultimate thrill ride, but now

it’s just another lifeless exhibit

in my childhood museum.  


Three swings sway in the wind,

pushed by the ghosts of my youth.

I mount my blue rubber swing, flashing back

to afternoons of playing with my older brothers.


We would fly through the air;

who could go higher or pump faster?

I stand next to the swings,

a chipped wooden seesaw rocks and groans.  






Don’t Mess with Grandma


     It all started on an average day at Grandma Margaret’s house in Spring Hill, Kansas.  I had come to visit her for the first time since I was a little girl.  My parents told me I had to get out of the house, so there I was on the steps of a little old house about to begin what would be the most exciting day of my life.


     I knocked softly on the door, afraid of what awaited me on the other side.  The door swung open forcefully and behind it stood Grandma Margaret.  I stared at her for a moment, taking in her burly frame and dirt-caked overalls.


     “Well? Are you just going to stand there?” Grandma asked harshly with breath like stale coffee.


     “Um, no,” I said quietly and stepped and into the living room.  Cigarette smoke lingered in the air and it seemed like every surface was covered in a layer of dirt.  The wood floors were worn and scratched, and the furniture looked second-hand.  


     “Go ahead, have a seat,” Grandma said, her tone softening a bit.


     I nodded and sat down on the floral couch.  I looked around and noticed there were no family pictures on the walls, no sentimental knick-knacks. She must be lonely, I thought to myself.  Just then I noticed that Grandma hadn’t joined me on the sofa and she emerged a moment later with a tray of cookies.  I thought maybe she wasn’t so bad after all until I tried one of her “cookies.”  It was burnt to a crisp and tasted like cinnamon with a hint of body odor.


     “Do you like it?” Grandma asked.  “They’re chocolate chip.”


     Trying to stay on her good side, I replied, “Mhmm,” and stuffed the rest under the couch cushion when she wasn’t looking.


     “Well,” Grandma said, “it’s nice to have you here.  I was thinking we could weed the-” She was interrupted by a loud crash outside.  “What in the name of Sam Hill?” Grandma asked, her eyes wide.


     She stood up and looked out the grimy front window.  I got up, too, and wondered what she was glaring at.  Then I saw an alley cat was rummaging through the dumpster, scattering its contents around the yard.  I had a feeling Grandma wouldn’t appreciate the stray cat dirtying her already cluttered lawn.  I feared for the cat’s life, but didn’t say anything, hoping Grandma would ignore the nuisance.  No such luck.  Grandma grabbed me by the arm and pulled me to the garage.  She managed to find a big metal shovel among all the junk, and that was when I realized Grandma is not the woman you want to mess with.  


     I watched from the open garage door as Grandma snuck up on the cat, shovel in hand.  With grace like a ballerina, she lunged at the poor cat and struck it on the head.  Its cries mixed with Grandma’s hollering as she beat the cat until it lay limp on the dumpster lid.  The cat heaved its last breath and Grandma picked it up, held it over her head, and yelled “Victory!”  I thought she might throw it away, but no, Grandma carried the cat into the kitchen and laid it on the counter.  I was pretty disgusted by the whole event, so I went back into the living room to wait for lunch.  


     After half an hour of boredom on the dirty couch, Grandma yelled, “Dinner!”  As I walked to the kitchen, I could smell warm bread and some sort of meat.  Grandma was already seated and inhaling her dinner, which she called “surprise stew.”  I poured myself a bowl and took a bite.  There were chunks of a mysterious meat and vegetables and, quite frankly, it was disgusting.  I forced down a few more spoonfuls before asking if I could be excused.


     “Didn’t you like your stew?” Grandma asked.  “It’s got a secret ingredient.”


     “Oh, what is it?”  I replied, fearful of what her answer might be.


     “The annoying cat that was going through my trash,”  Grandma said with a smirk on her face.


     At that moment, I realized just how crazy Grandma was and ran out of the house, never looking back.  Now I know why my family always says, “Don’t mess with Grandma.”






The Fountain


A decrepit fountain

sits alone

and undiscovered, hidden

from the outside world.  


The fountain’s beauty is covered

by years of grime and filth.

A boa of ivy

snakes into every gap.


The fountain is tiered

like a wedding cake,

topped with a woman

forever living in a single moment.


She sings, serenading

the garden around her.  

The flowers turn to her,

listening to a sweet song.


The concrete fountain looms

among the lush greenery,  

thirsty, but drained;

stuck in an eternal drought.


A few tarnished pennies remain.

Wishes of children,

left unanswered,

in the forgotten fountain.