FLAT CREEK WETLAND OVERLOOK

By Peggy Shumaker

Two dozen downy goslings graze
this stubbled verge, three parents
high-beaked, vigilant.

Beside the walkway,
wingfeathers, tailfeathers,
no blood.

High up then low, swallows careen–
calligraphy through
evening’s hatch of gnats.

A lone Northern Shoveler scoops
marsh muck, sifts and rinses
squirmy gulps, swallows.

One-note calls pepper darkening air
where red shouldered blackbirds bob
on dry reeds, furry cattails

long since gone to seed.
Frog calls round off dim edges
of evening, vowel chorus

come, come come.
Wild eyes we never see
track each step we take,

ease away among aspen.
Wide paws, the tawny
shimmer of muscle under fur,

mountains’ wildness made flesh,
fang, claw. Tiny brown bats tumble,
gasp open/shut. Echoes

tremble beyond our hearing.
Elk roam these flats, sometimes
thousands at a time

meandering these meadows,
thousands of elk breathing out
this air we take deep in.

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Categories: Issue 6, Poetry | Leave a comment

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