I love to watch the owl rip the seams of darkness

trying to find me. Like a broom, he sweeps up

whatever I leave him—frogs, fish, voles, anything

not to my taste.

After night drops its primary mask

I’m off. I prefer what you call the “swamp” though

I never admit it.

There are no straight lines, or stories.

I leave my skins for you to decipher — each word

you invent for them is quicksand, each idea

a trip mine. As with mermaid weed, crowsfoot,

cobra fern, you name things hoping they are

something else.

Even young, we learned to entrap

you with a simple ambiguous tale. My own eyes

change shape from day to night.

Our secret is:

Eden is our playbook. We think of ourselves as

the Elect.

What they say about us is fake news

 – we do not swarm to attack you. In fact,

we’ll eat each other when times are tough.


We rely on your myths the way you rely

on your religion, for you, too, have learned

that you cannot twist the truth you do not know,

as one of your poets tells you.

And what is

the brain but carrion corrupted into worms,

as your Jonathan Swift wrote, and the soul

just a deflated balloon.

I am already on

the move for only I can lead the way.


A vine climbs to the side of the oak

like an extra spine, trying to imitate me.

You’ll think I’m a floating twig until too late.


At which time I will eat the sound of your fear.