Swamp trees, mangrove and bald cypress,
pulled under in stately order,
a cotillion dance well-rehearsed,
or as a hundred-masted ship
whose gentle decline into the waves,
prow to stern, belies the immoveable
solidity of that which breached its hull.
Or here, the earth itself that is mutable,
giving way beneath its own weight,
dragging down all the living mass above,
what breath that is held, held against
a length of time insurmountable, as when
my daughter is taken by the shifting
fault line of her mind and tells me
of the creatures that dance beyond
her window, their lurid colors, their
shivering limbs, the way they beckon
with their eyes, and how she can’t
breathe from the strangeness of it all.
Ken Holland has been widely published in the literary journals, with work in recent issues of Roanoke Review, Louisville Review, and The Antigonish Review.