At the water’s edge, green pleats.
A cattail hem, sweetspire
with annabelle buttons.
Water itself silver as a woman
slipping from a sundress.
Still as a woman saying
no I don’t need anything right now,
no, I just need some time.
As we walk, the engine quiets.
Bird heads on the ground,
sucked dry. Swamp pinks vanished.
The softleaf sedge.
We let that white horse in.
We said the silver of the woman’s flesh was a gift.
She meant to give it to us.
Big bluestem, sweetflag, swamp milkweed.
Turtle head snapping its stem back and forth.
Some horror, too, in the canal to your brain,
in the route you pull from yourself
like silk. You pull it like milk. Old milk,
dark, decaying eggs.
Old salt, your father’s bones,
your garter of black snake. The creek’s bank
which never changes, which is always
already changed. The deer drink
from tumors. The holy drink from heavy metal.
In temples we’ve scalded and drugged.
The gods forgive us anyway. Pull from us
the strange oil, the frowning seed.