Friday, May 12, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

She is like the saltwater marshes. She is the sunlight that kisses the ripples when a duck takes flight. She is the cool breeze calming troubled shoulders. She is the giver of life, and there is nothing more important. The marsh doesn't need your accolades, and neither does she. The marsh doesn't question its motive, so why should she?

I am sometimes a Great Blue Heron. Stick legs stuck in the muck. Eyes darting, looking for something moving which signifies life. I am sometimes an otter, who playfully teases the world. I am often the turtle on the log, unable to move, drunk on sun. 

You are the snake in the grass. The Cottonmouth waiting to strike. You have no rattle to warn with. You have adequate color defense, but you carry death in your mouth. It leaks out the corners. You are dribbling poison as you stumble forward. 

None of this will be here in a thousand years. Things are born, die; they are often quickly forgotten. We can't drag the train of our dead with us, we would never be able to move. You will cast off this grief, eventually. At the very least, you will return to the muck where your purpose is clear. 


  1. Wow. Great images. So many hard-punch lines. The bit about the snake is amazing.

    1. Amazing. Favourite bits are about the marsh - the marsh doesn't need your accolades, etc. And the snake without the rattle to warn you. All snakes should have a warning rattle! It's very emotive, this piece.

  2. Some random thoughts. I swear I didn't read Dan's piece before I wrote mine.


    You bathe in the sunbaked afternoon, soothed by the burble of the nearby creek high with recent rain, with the soft grass tickling your bare skin and the sky your personal movie screen of shapeshifting gray-white clouds across the never-ending blue. You watch insects flit and hop and land. Grasshopper faces like miniature dinosaurs, bees with a coat of fur. The cat slinks up so quietly you only notice when a silky paw lands on your belly. She sits there a moment, eyes closed, face tilted up to the sun as you stroke her chin, until she hops off to resume her hunt for invisible prey. You roll to your side and pick her out of the landscape of grass and weeds and garden fence, only wishing you had her economy of movement, her grace, her air of nonchalance. You would do as you wish, whenever you wanted, avoid whomever you choose. You would turn, flick your tail and stalk away; if that wasn’t enough, you would make use of the defenses nature gave you—an arch of back, a hiss, a show of pointed teeth, a swipe of claws. You’d keep a mental list of those who displeased you—several bullies in your class come to mind—and you’d never let them forget. You would make a damn good cat. You watch the hunt. She slinks flat, the tip of her tail switching. Waits. Waits. Then pounces. Whichever toad or katydid or garden snake that has become her quarry wishes it had stayed at home that day. Finally she lifts her head. Tiny feet and a tail hang out of the side of her mouth. Looking pleased with herself, she trots up and sets the now-dead thing beside you. You recoil, stomach squinching, but the little corpses are supposedly a gift, like the baby rabbit she once deposited on the welcome mat, so you make a fuss and pet her head. Tribute made, she meows once, a sound like pride, and walks away. You stare at the poor dead thing, and imagine sneaking it into a bully’s desk at school, and smile at the thought of it, then resume watching the sky.

  3. Spiral

    To the in-between,
    red spiral walking,
    an unravelling ribbon
    like the bent stem of a flower,
    clipped wing of a bird,
    cry of a raven.

    It all sleeps, dwells, echoes,
    filling and un-filling.

    We are the awake,
    biding our flimsy time,
    listening to nature open
    while welcoming the dawn in,
    this pink rising splendour,
    awaiting a spillage of yolk.

  4. Betrayal

    Betrayal, cuts like ice.
    Tanglewood and barbed thorns,
    existential murmurs of doubt.
    An open wound, etched deep,
    it sucks time into itself,
    lingers, leaves a white trail of scar,
    translucent tissue in the light.

    You can feel it at your back,
    a heaviness, a sack of empty.
    It follows you as you cross the street,
    as you enter a building,
    as you try to eat, try to swallow.
    It sits like coal in the pit of your being,
    seeking to consume you whole.

    You look at the scar sometimes.
    It represents a turning, a dark page,
    an entry point into the netherworld,
    where Persephone sits and contemplates
    the springtime light of the world above.
    Sometimes the scar stares back,
    a reminder of who you were,
    and who you are, written in water.


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