Watching the close forest this afternoon
and the riverland beyond, I delineate
quail down from the dandelion’s shiver
from the blowzy silver of the cobweb
in which both are tangled.  I am skillful
at tracing the white egret within the white
branches of the dead willow where it roosts
and at separating the heron’s graceful neck
from the leaning stems of the blue-green
lilies surrounding.  I know how to unravel
sawgrasses knitted to iris leaves knitted
to sweet vernals.  I can unwind sunlight
from the switches of the water in the slough
and divide the grey sumac’s hazy hedge
from the hazy grey of the sky, the red vein
of the hibiscus from its red blossom.

All afternoon I part, I isolate, I untie,
I undo, while all the while the oak
shadows, easing forward, slowly ensnare me,
and the calls of the wood peewees catch
and latch in my gestures, and the spicebush
swallowtails weave their attachments
into my attitude, and the damp sedge
fragrances hook and secure, and the swaying
Spanish mosses loop my coming sleep,
and I am marsh-shackled, forest-twined,
even as the new stars, showing now
through the night-spaces of the sweet gum
and beech, squeeze into the dark
bone of my breast, take their perfectly
secured stitches up and down, pull
all of their thousand threads tight
and fasten, fasten.


Photo By: Arturo Donate