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Swamp country

By Marion Goldstein / September 29, 1983

They called it swamp country. I didn't. You enter through a keyhole of willow in gravity's gate. Here winds hesitate above hollow trees wearing gray skin and wading where land once was.

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One summer, I dipped my oars into the morning and rowed into a meadow of lily pads that float as thick as ideas on the water's surface. I did not anchor. But drifted in shoals alive with lotus and hyacinth.

Then, emerging from that dark place beneath the bottom of the boat knifing through still water luminous as an insight a pickerel: quickly with a net of fingers thrust into the shallows I groped

But I could not capture it from the shadow of the lily pad.