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.