A Poem by John Grey

Each time I come back here
I expect to find it the same,
like there’s this pact
between myself and the waters.

But the harsh does not cooperate,
seems strange.
Yes, the crickets chirr,
But it’s not the same insects.
The throaty whistle of the blackbirds
is the sound of strangers
as is the rump-pump of the frogs.

I am almost saddened
because there are these ways
in which a once-familiar landscape
can go on without me.
And the mallards don’t need my permission
to glide on the waters.
The purpose of the slithering copperhead
does not include me.
It is not their function to make me understand
what I do not know.
They can surprise me
like that black bear high up on a tree branch.
But I am not part of the plan.
I am not essential.

And when I try to hold the landscape
to how I remember it,
nothing helps out –
not the driftwood, not the mangrove roots,
not the sighing cypress.
People may come here from time to time.
But it is only about them incidentally.

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