Published on Academy of American Poets (


river with a valley so shallow it is measured
in inches” says McKibben
and no longer           Ever           but shrinking,
this marsh-wealth in a buzz
of conversing, wing flaps and wind, ringed
by housing, drained by canals,
an expanse thick with mangroves, orchids,
birds erupting out of grasses—
“so flat that a broad sheet of water flows slowly
across it on the way to the sea”—
algae, floating lilies, water purified
and sent into
the dreamscape—            	Heaven’s
beneath us, what I look down into,
bubbling mud, permeable skin—
Driving here, miles
across paved-over space
till what’s missing gathers—
jaw open in the sun,
wings explaining—
What can’t be seen is more
than all of this         Strokes
of green blades          swells of nothing—
we’re            	Ever
latched to each other, burning


Copyright © 2018 by Anne Marie Macari. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 16, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“First, the quote is by Bill McKibben from a book called Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape. I have been visiting the Everglades on and off for years, lately with my ornithologist son and others more knowledgeable than I am, and it’s a privilege to be among the plants and animals, to feel for a short time part of something separate from the human experiment. But then, it’s not so separate; it’s an endangered place, much has already been lost. My poem is an attempt to hold those two seemingly separate things that are, of course, not separate: the sacred and natural place, so very alive, and its ongoing destruction by human greed and stupidity.”
—Anne Marie Macari


Anne Marie Macari

Anne Marie Macari is the author of five books of poems, including Red Deer (Persea Books, 2015) and Heaven Beneath, which is forthcoming from Persea Books in 2020.

Date Published: 2018-10-16

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