Forget the lily-pads angled
up out the water, green lids
insects gnaw like winged goats.
Forget the hawk, who probably thinks
the feeling mutual.
Forget the pine needle garnishes,
gnats bounding the pond’s skin,
mosquitoes engrossed in bloody games of tag.
Matter of fact, forget green—
the way it proliferates, the way
it sways, reaches, turns brown.
Forget the sky’s false blue,
light’s refraction due
to the angle it strikes atmosphere.
Forget water, forget order—
how biology all makes sense
if you live long enough:
the frog gulps the fly, the bird
sucks back the frog, sediment
and maggots claim the dead bird, the seed
feeds off the dirt, the tree nests
the bird which eyes the frog.
The cycle—the zero sum—the reason we build coffins.
“Quagmire” first appeared in issue 1.1 of Bat City Review.