WALKING THROUGH SWAMPLAND

WALKING THROUGH SWAMPLAND
by John Grey

Late afternoon,
sun sinks into marsh,
osprey links up with her nest,
cormorant perches on

a mangrove branch, wings
spread wide, drying out for
last time this day,
a copperhead slithers

into thick reeds,
provides shudder
to my casual immersion
in steamy sub-tropical near-stillness;

I walk an elevated wooden trail,
the only solid footing
in a land of shifting unsteady surfaces;
a gator glides beneath me –

more back-chat from delinquent nerve-ends;
the peace, it seems, has a role
even for these, my phobias;
it will be dark soon,

warm and elusive,
calm but predatory,
a natural bulwark
trumped by mixed feelings.

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