top of page

Dawn Potter

The bog is multitudes

     for Teresa Carson


Broken or cut, which is worse?

What are living trees when dead?

Here cobwebs dangle and skunks twine

Like blue-black solos behind the midnight drums.

Not silent but quiet. A misery lofts

Among the passersby: frantic moths,

June bugs scraping against the sagging night.

Husks by morning.


Broken or cut, which is better?

What are dead trees when living?

Spiders climb, and muskrats swim

Like golden harps among the sunlit violins.

Songs of pleasure screech and dive,

And the timid watchers, the yellowlegs,

The wood ducks rustling against the reeds,

Hum into lives among the grasses,

Rise into lives by dusk—

O promise to leave me lonely


my homing bird


For instance,

these shattered tree-ancestors, these sap-laden

sproutlings thrusting up through leaf litter and mud.

My canoe bobs—aimless, quivering. Trickles of lake lap the gunwales.

Grey spiders, fat as thumbs, embroider and hem; two young muskrats

paddle after their stout mother; a fuzzy halo of sunlight strobes their

rippled trail, and a brace of wood ducks, alarmed, crashes into flight,

plot-twist into air-world, sky-passage, cloud-trail, and who knows

where their highway ends?






air-worldcloud-trailred sky-passage

       rising to duskO

      star-shoremy homing bird

              wrap me in your feathered cloak

let me stagger      against your pounding heart

Dawn Potter directs the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. She is the author of nine books of prose and poetry, and she lives in Portland, Maine.

bottom of page