Pole Boat at Honey Island Poem

Pole Boat at Honey Island Poem

The way he pushes deeper
into everything I hate—the heat rising
like wet crepe from silt and muck
to fill our lungs with its rotten breath.
Listen to the grunting armadillos,
pad the tule pond on tiny feet.
Listen to the owl croon
in the loblolly.
I want to be brave, to bathe
myself in the humid night,
to cross the irradiant lawn
under magnolias,
those creamy-faced babies
perched in evergreen leaves,
to float through dives,
sick-smelling bayous full of turtle,
yellow-capped night heron,
to let the air penetrate at last,
the miasma that sends women to attics,
sets them scratching walls like mice,
rocking, humming with no release.
But I am afraid. I have danced
the sad slippers. I have placed
a hand on blind branches,
felt it flame with fire ants.
My lover’s body like water snakes,
his sweat the odor of crawfish,
boiled. As he poles deeper
into the gauzy night—water swims
beside kerosene. So too as peepers
fill their bugle pouches—
like voices in an asylum,
an orchestra of cracked reeds,
throbbing sacs of chameleon—
we strum our giddy throats.
We begin to screech.

Sandra Alcosser
from Except by Nature

Pole Boat at Honey Island Poem

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