MOLASSES SWAMP, Elizabeth Kerlikowske

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Weeds clot the little cove
strangle oars and wrap around
propellers like spaghetti.

Reach for the cup and saucer of a water lily
and touch a Northern Water snake.

Bloodsuckers hitch onto legs, arms,
the size of Red Hots until later:
screams, salt shakers           a little science.

Not summer people
who call this morass their beach.

Not sun worshippers. From a glade
they watch boats lose pins, kids
in waders almost drown in muck.

Most years they lose a vehicle
out on the ice. Poachers. Their offal
and sewage seep into the lake.

In August that cove brews its own
hypnotic atmosphere, swamp gas.
Some nights the water burns.


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