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This poem first appeared in the Summer, 2011 Issue of The Antioch Review.


by Debora Greger

Redwings calling, weed to weed.
A lovesick alligator’s low notes.
In the dank trappings of an old lotus bed,
silence stood, white‑feathered,

as tall as I was. The whooping crane
let a handful of sandhill cranes nearby
pass for family, but only to outsiders:
in the dead forest of dog fennel,

that floating palace of shadows,
they played shadowy courtiers
to the more brilliant bird. Over the fetor
of Florida, alabastrine towers preened.

But the tall, uncomprehending hero—
our tallest bird—said nothing.
Said, I envy the mosquito,
 the one you don’t see reflected beside me

in the black mirror of swamp.
There is no solitude like mine.
The sky lowers itself to my level
and will not weep.


DeboragregerDEBORA GREGER’s most recent book of poems, By Herself, was published by Penguin in 2012. Professor Emerita of the University of Florida, she is Poet-in-Residence at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida.




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