My Swamp Poem

It is impossible to write
a poem about this landscape
without including a swamp.
And the mud at the bottom

of the swamp that
has not been heard from in
a long time, and, in fact,
is sound asleep.

This is the very same mud
that the alligator and snake
have learned not to wake
as they go on with

their lives, not troubling
the mud, the heaviness
of its dream, or
letting it get in their way.

That is the secret here.
Not to think about the mud.
Not to think about
the stillness and the darkness

at the bottom of the swamp,
or what the armadillo
arms itself against, or what
frightens the face of the possum.

Instead to write about life.
That is what the mosquito
that lives in the air
stings alive to know.


Sue Owen
from her book The Devil’s Cookbook
Louisiana State University Press, 2007
reprinted with permission of the poet
Used by permission of the poet.

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