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We are all intruders here
             though we fool ourselves this late winter day,
carving a place on the banks
                         to anchor our heels.
We stretch over the water, hoping
             to slip onto the wings of a great blue heron
but afraid to get caught in the trap of reeds, twisting
                         in the foul water.
The marsh ignites: will-o'-the-wisps,
                         sprites, a wisp of flames,
torches held aloft by villagers
             marching on the manor.
We've read too many fairy tales
                         but this much is true:
I heard voices.
             Not the call of a willet or clapper rail
but a child caught beneath the ceiling of water
                         the thin reed of its voice
rising in the brackish light.

Carol V. Davis

Between Storms
Truman State University Press

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