Two Poems by tripp j crouse

Swamp Witch

You’re a destination
I’m trying to reach
but more and more 
distance pushes me away

to the vanishing point,
when I don’t know
where or who I am.

It’s become painfully transparent
that I’m invisible,
a forest sprit without body,
hands to hold
or soul to crush.

Left to wander the woods
like abandoned animals.
I thought love would be the light
that guides me home.

But I chase will-o-wisps,
bioluminescence and moon tricks
until I fall in the marsh, 
trapped in a bog that
the more I fight against
the tighter gravity pulls. 

I call for you, for help,
anyone that will listen. 

But I’m done crying over you.
Over us.
And when someone finally
I urge them to go on
without me
as I’m called home
to return to the earth.


Road to Deadhorse

Blind burst of a setting sun,
driving one-way
through an alley, 
an asphalt afterlife,
boulevard of dead-end dreams.
Dangle from the stars
a tempting target
for anyone aiming
toward the moon.
The dark side—dangers
of an unknown,
fears we face, names we hear
We’ll get there, 
I swear
but it’s a long road 
to haul 
and no gas stops for several hours
and miles of heartbreak 
to guide us.


tripp j crouse is niizh manidoowag (Two-Spirit) Ojibwe, and also a 20-plus-year recovering journalist. tripp currently works with a non-profit that specializes in community and economic development in Southeast Alaska. They also perform spoken word, write poetry, fiction, paint, draw, bead, and advocate for the visibility and representation of Indigenous people in media. tripp has poetry published or forthcoming in The Yellow Medicine Review, oddball magazine, Grassroots, and Zygote in My Coffee, Words & Whispers, and beestung. They are currently working on a poetry collection called “Marginalia.” Originally from the Midwest, tripp now calls Dzantik’i Heeni (Juneau, Alaska) home.