Suburban Slough

by on January 01, 2011

New Chicago Marsh near Alviso in the South Bay. Photo by Cris Benton.


There is a god
who sits upon the sea’s blue monument
and breathes into the tide.
He sits far off, and yet his breath is here.

It is a little channel, barely wide
enough to have some mud and pickleweed,
with bulkheads hemming it on either side:

Out of a culvert’s gated mouth
a creek flows out from underneath
the asphalts of a creekless neighborhood.

A poor scrap of a place: but something knows
to do its utmost with the bits we leave.
The muck is blue; the pickleweed is rose;

The heron in its terrible intent
implanted like a bolted driftwood bird
wastes no opinion on the littered shore.

Pry up that black half-buried tire
and you will find a tidepool in its curve,
an anemone, a fish, a flash of mauve.

The tide goes out: the treble waters glide
and new marauders settle from their wings.
What tugs again is seeking out what clings.

It is an awkward comfort, but a true:
there are survivors of the worst we do
and nature does not wring her hands, but moves
into the least of these interstices.

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