Now in its 25th consecutive publishing year, the Institute of American Indian Arts student anthology—to be published this summer under the title In Media Res—shines a spotlight on the best student-written fiction, nonfiction and poetry from the institute’s creative writing program. SFR went through In Media Res and offers some outstanding excerpts below.

Making the River Ripple

Wind swaying the leaves along, making the river ripple / Air shivered with a neighing song, making the river ripple

Men wash off their mud bodies, painted like war horses / Midday burned too long, heat making the river ripple

There was a race, down the dirt scar burned in the mountain pass / Light barefoot strides among Nike Airs, making the river ripple

Red stampeded, bled into the white, a victory flew away / Staring back from the water, its song, making the river ripple

Now, shoes kicked off, stallions free and bucking
Naked muscles feel less wrong, making the river ripple

A lone horseman waited, baking in the war mud, hardened / The herd gone, entering, making the river ripple

Allowed to watch him strip off his paint, his skin
I came along, washed his back, making the river ripple

He ran because I pleaded him to, and his legs were ready / Kamella, seeing this after so long, is making the river ripple.

-Kamella Bird-Romero


Squint in the outside light

Hot sun on their sweaty backs
Yellow haze broken

By a jet of cool sweet water

Drink until it aches in their chests.

- Kat Deiter


It chews wood under the floor,
chitters, squeaks, and rustles.
Restless, it rushes and nibbles,
stuffs cheek pouches. It flickers

across shadowed floorboards,
flits through cob-webbed
corners. Sunlit, tan and white
streak there and gone.

Like my childhood lost hamster,
caged, then loose again.
I sit quietly this still dark morning
my journal in my lap waiting.

Finally I see it
nose twitching, ears fanning.
I offer my hand,
palm full of nouns and verbs.

I hold it, pet it.
Its heart races.
I smooth mussed fur, stroke it,
Until it shivers calm.

I write quickly.

-Carolyn Conley

People who fly

People who fly
wait for seat belt signs
to turn off,
Deny your demands,
Even the morbidly obese man
struggles, to find his place.

People who fly drink free beverages
out of funnel shaped Styrofoam.
They are most likely breaking a diet
If they’re on one.

They hope that fat stink
doesn’t sit next to them,
or the liberal mother and her
child who has no discipline.

People who fly hate the middle seat
People who fly hate the Middle East
Then again who doesn’t?

the traveler will meet other people
whom they will never meet again.

People who fly assume that
other people who fly
are still alive.

- Katie Lasley