The Lettuce Swamp
In the lettuce swamp, the water gurgles;
snowy egrets perch on red mangrove branches
listening to fish breaths. Bird heads tip down
one eye left, another right. Black crabs
crawl across root spines sucked bare,
a turtle raises his head to sunlight.
From beneath pond greens,
two primeval eyes emerge.
A parabola mouth beaches on salad,
mud-hatted head glides with a push
of reptilian body and tail. The plants
yield and part. A reddish egret fans wings
in light stepped dance, and a line of green
caterpillars curl and stretch on platform rails.
The snowy egret flies down with a great squawk,
plucks up a writhing fish, the lump disappears
down a curvaceous neck.
Yesterday I held a young alligator,
his crenulated skin cool at the neck.
His body pulsed, as did mine, only separate
by degrees of body heat and thought,
not so different in breath or heart beat,
or the way our babies reach tiny arms up
for mother, little mouths in wide smiles.
Dark blue horizon,
light strings outline a ship.
Orion shoots the moon.
Waves beach red seaweed,
a hawk circles then floats in pink
morning swallowing sky.
IV. From the Balcony
If I lived here
Would I someday
the sunrise birds
the rhythmic surf
stars clouded then milked
moon shrouded then blinded by sun
shells marooned on sand
unseen beings submersed
beneath the embracing
A wind howls as palms and seagrass
cower under sweeping rain.
The Earth Mother intones:
You are one of many,
many ones as one,
tossed the open sea.
© Annie Bien