Kristen Diederich


It all went south after that
small child drowned on the fourth of July, Summer 2012.
All the people waiting for the fireworks with their lawn chairs
and beach blankets, just as they do every year,
delayed only by a minute. It took longer
than that for him to die and even longer for the mother to emerge
from the bathroom, even longer for the birds
to leave that paradise littered with donut crumbs
and rotting fish the following winter— I found a rabbit floating
in Del Lago, just before leaving for good— Wake up, wake up
she was yelling as the girl readied to sing the anthem, unmistakably
the girl I sat next to in math class. I wanted to be one of those diving birds
that stayed only for a year, just as you wanted to be with me that night
just as the mother wished it were her instead. To be dead, to be dead,
this white flag. That corner of Los Flores— bring me the flowers
the dirt instead of all this water—
Hold your head up, hold it up
breathe it in, that song.


Kristen Diederich, 23, recently moved to Maupin, Oregon from Portland, Oregon. Since moving into her new place, she has found a dog named Sato, a library, slot machines, countless garden beds, another dog named Acer, and the Deschutes. She still wants to say hello to every dog she meets, but sometimes refrains from doing so—Maybe not every dog wants to be approached by a stranger? She loves her shelf- plants, doodling/painting and is in a book club that meets once a month. Her partner just bough her a new camera, which she is over the moon about.