Marvin Lurie

The Slough

A low flat bridge, not much longer than wide,
hidden by grass,
crossed the narrow end of the slough.
I stepped up on its dry platform to take in the rushes
and willow saplings lining the flow
and found an island in a world of barely seen shapes
slipping away underwater,
frogs escaping onto hidden, watery paths,
the stare of a sculpture-still heron,
a silent blackbird swaying on the tallest cattail.
The world slowly recovered
from the sudden sound of boots on wood,
from my long shadow and predator’s scent.
The heron took a measured step.
The blackbird trilled and flashed his scarlet shoulders.
Frogs came back to the shore.
Fish tailed back under the bridge.
A muskrat, swimming, turned to look at me,
as a commuter might
who sees something unusual beside the road
and turned back to its journey.

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