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
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-world cloud-trail red sky-passage
rising to dusk O
star-shore my 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.