THE GARDENS IN THE FENS
Here and there, narrow entrances break through
the wall of reeds. Outside them, wary men
stand guard, hands in pockets. They nod slightly
at those who pass between the feathered stalks
into the Troy’s Hoy of trampled straw. Low
voices whisper, urge. Marsh water puddles;
each slough is a shrine. Here and there, hands or
backs or limbs have carved out grooves in the mud.
On all sides, the tall phragmites rise up,
their soft tops lightly touching overhead
when they bend in the wind. They seem to be
nodding, approving the trysts they conceal.
When strangers approach, red-winged blackbirds flash
bright plumage, cry okaleeee, and take flight.