Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joan E. Bauer: Duckweed  

In Branchville, New Jersey, home of Bear Swamp,

I’m with the Frugal Traveler & to prove I’m no stranger

to frugality, I find a $57-a-night special

with a bathroom painted Easter Bunny green

& a chair that wobbles on funny rollers. We’re lucky.

We both can sleep through rumbly back-road noise,

brought knapsacks full of books.

I think: My friend grew up in a place like this

(so different from LA). He hiked, fished & scouted,

while I read & wheezed & lip-synched

Barbra Streisand. Did he really go ice-fishing?

What was it like, having brothers?


The August heat has morphed the daisies

—or are they black-eyed Susans—

into a thousand drooping yellow teepees. I’m learning

what grows on backwater ponds & streams.

It’s worth half-wrecking the tires,

driving down this gravel road to find

the smallest flowers in the world.

What shelters bluegills & bullfrogs,

what carries more protein than even soybeans.

What we find to sustain ourselves:

double leaves, single root, air pockets

so buoyant that the tiny flowers just float—


Copyright 2018 Joan E. Bauer

Previously published in 5 AM. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

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This entry was posted on October 22, 2018 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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