If we'd met
in the swamp,
it would have been
Our black eyes transparent, our home base a high
bat's nest stuffed in the chest of an arthritic cypress
named for a one-eyed chief, and several of his
descendents. Flowering water is the muck
of our breakfasts. We ease ourselves, we slip
into a sweet, a mosquito bath drawn from waters
we don't dare drain. Oh man, I don't like
the sound of that thunder. Gator jaws
are beautiful, like a gum-tree raft.
What is "natural"? What is "good" in a forest,
tucked under water? Cypress knees rise up from nowhere,
on fire, the light making coals of a root's reflection.
What is all this nonsense? We have swamps
on our conscience, like a lie that returns to
the edge of our dreams, laughing much louder
than our swimming fists. We are caught in a swamp
storm, out on the boardwalk, the sky falls toward
us with each cracking branch. The cypress have
lived here so long in this silent buzz, they talk
of our dumb luck, they make us feel good,
as if we were already the past.