on the Whirlpool Trails


It’s quiet here, nearly night. Raindrops
slide down the trees and glisten
on the spiderwebs
that weave the forest in their silken nets,
while under the thick duff of pine needles
a billion invisible lives continue.
At the base of sweetgum, moss clumps
in velvety emerald cushions, and lichen
spills across the bark, staining the wood
with the slow, inexorable process
of transformation. Everywhere, life.
Green, muddy, like all waters in Mississippi,
the pond reflects reeds and leafless branches,
as over the oaks the heron unfolds,
floats northward. A Canada goose
scribbles on the surface of the water.
You longed to be loved, and we loved you.



Ann Fisher-Wirth’s sixth book is The Bones of Winter Birds (Terrapin Books, 2019); her fifth, Mississippi, is a poetry/photography collaboration with Maude Schuyler Clay (Wings Press, 2018). With Laura-Gray Street, she coedited The Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP, 2013). A senior fellow of the Black Earth Institute, Fisher-Wirth teaches at the University of Mississippi, where she also directs the Interdisciplinary Minor in Environmental Studies.

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