The Marsh at Dusk

by Steve Meador
FreeWrights Peer Review
Third Place, May 2009
Judged by Duncan Mercredi

I enter the marsh
with a rabbit’s foot,
a four leaf clover
and knowledge that evening
arrives from the west.
When the sun rests on the tallest reeds
I turn and carry it on my back.
My senses, stropped by adrenaline,
will lead me to the fleece of safety.
I taste thunder before it coagulates,
smell rain as it gathers in clouds.
A moccasin’s yawn rivals the bellow
of a fire-breathing bull. Gurgling,
from a gator’s nostrils, magnifies through
valleys of cattail stems, reaches my ears
as harpie screams. If scraping happens
along tectonic plates, I will feel it.
Every splash and swish of the paddle
whips up a tornadic whirlpool.
Dusk evaporates. Fear bubbles
like magma, hardens in my kayak’s wake.
Once the plane to open water is broken
I turn the bow toward the sulfurous
throat that wants to swallow me
and laugh, like an Argonaut come home.

Coming from a small northern village before the advent of modern conveniences, a line such as " when the sun rests on the tallest reeds, I turn and carry it on my back" resonates within me and I remember walking in the reeds as a child seeing only the sun and sky above me. This work stirs those feelings and I travel back to those innocent times and that magnificent gift we've been given, imagination. --Duncan Mercredi