“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
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/everglades-0