is this pond where algae seals
banks in lime and sage filaments
drifting in some intricate mat
so that you imagine one might
walk on water commune with
disembodied snapping turtles
their slimed beaks, their blinking eyes

Saplings rim its ragged edges
cattle gone first and then fences
hedged round now by sumac
lemon honeysuckle a fistful
of field daises’ yellow faces

elsewhere in the predawn birds
carelessly break the silence:
phoebes and orioles harmonizing
with mockingbirds and killdeer
cardinals, the occasional crow

but here just this stillness primeval
cadged beneath scraggly boughs
arching to create sacred space
this green cave visited

only now and then by a single doe
pushing her muzzle through this
myriad of creatures neither plant
nor animal nor fungi to seine tea-colored water
before slipping back into the brush

behind her algae resealing itself
as if she were never there.