Poems by Rebecca Alexander

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Alchemy of a Wetland

by Rebecca Alexander

From Canary Summer 2015

Rebecca lives in Seattle's Lake Washington-Cedar River watershed close to the Wedgewood erratic, a massive serpentinized greenstone.

the flicker is the answer
to the riddled apple tree
bestrewn with gauzy tents
the barn owl in daylight
is a pallid crow-pocked moon
shadowed by dragonflies the dog traces
the hidden mouth to the grass path
through a tunnel of dappled poplar saplings
where by night coyotes howl untrammeled

invisible history seeps and suffuses
the roots of wild aster and woolly vetch
threads the leaf capillaries of bird’s foot trefoil
fuels the elemental radiance of brazen yellow broom
acts of survival and of vanishing
recede and surge and tumble
this imperfect alembic chortles
blurts and shrills its song of contradictions
tip the vessel to turn the tide of humankind-ness

on the fringes of the constructed wetland
the droning tools of demolition and re-creation
raise their sundering hue and cry
the Great blue heron dips its beak into the pond
a sorrow-sipping retort drawing up
the groundtruth of tainted marshwater
but tilting back into the fickle sky
a silvered minnowful of kicking verve
and death-defiant breath

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