The Web ROW
“The world’s children are perhaps its most truthful and sensitive observers.”

—Pamela Michael, River of Words co-founder
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Garter Snake
He is a rope of darkness
Against rain-streaked grass
Green scales the color of ivy
Slither through my hands with unexpected life

Miniscule eyes of tinfoil and yellow paint
I imagine a young collage
Strange shapes and rough edges
Where the scissors rebelled

In dirty fingers caked with mud
I grasp the wriggling creature
Examining the greenish scales
One by one

The scent of the forest fills my nose
Wet grass and the sharp tang of mint
I turn him in my hands
So small, so delicate, so strange

Innocent garter snake
Not the sneaky, clever one
Attached to an evil hunch
Squirming in my fingers

I see a hint of fear in those shiny eyes
The spasms of worry that rocket through each scale
I let go
The snake slithers back
Where to—I don't know

2010 Grand Prize Winner - Category III (Grades 7-9)
Julia Christensen, age 13
Seattle, Washington
Lakeside Middle School
Teacher: Alicia Hokanson