ephemeral environment

Journey, After Annie Dillard

by Ella Bartlett

Went to the wettest inner slip and 
found mangroves, multiplying by 
themselves, or with the help of the 
wind. Humans swam around their 
trunks, sliding in simple rhythms 
like rounding out the corners of a 
square. There were sounds of 
birds breathing, millions of buds 
growing on the outside of the 
prop roots. Barely half the size of 
my thumb, the insects believed in 
gods who live behind eye sockets 
and I said to my lover, let’s walk 
over there, to see the swimmers 
better. I was crisp, uncomfortable 
watching the water striders clip 
the edge of a fallen branch. 
Underneath this lake are 
a thousand skies, stretched out, 
teeming with things still drifting.

Ella Bartlett is an Iowan-born, New-York-educated, and Paris-based writer. This poem was inspired by a landscape described by the incredible writer Annie Dillard, in whose writing Bartlett finds familiarity and strangeness.

You can follow her on Twitter @EllaTheRewriter.


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