The Light in the Refuge
by Amy D'Amico

The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge stretches
From Alabama, NY to Shelby, in Orleans County,
Soddy in December
Where still, old growth trees
Ankle in the swamps
So close to the road the light changes
Like our voices change for prayer. Drive
Down it, and somethin in you
Will change, even
If you are on'y tryin' to get to the Rez for tax-free Seneca
Box Kings, on th' way
To Darien Lake to walk hours
On blacktop in the heat,
To blackjack in Niagara Falls the rest a your SSI.
This part of the road
You won't think anything,
It'll be as quiet as the sun
Inside you. I dunno why there aren't too many birds
But I think the swamp provides a place
For the rain to slow distill itself of toxins
From the Niagara power plant,
the new Ethanol plant in Medina, what's left
Of Kodak's slow-to-dead fixer treatment of the water east.
By the time the refuge has held the rain
In the meadows and the woods and the gray-brown marshes
It'll meet the groundwater like a sunrise
Broke so slowly you can't say when
y'knew it's day.

Return to complete issue »

comments powered by Disqus