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was alive: small creatures aglow and crawling one after the other down each tall green blade— thousands of them bending at all angles— along the quaggy edge of the salt marsh cove the three of us had paddled our kayaks into… luminous bits of green-gold sliding down the myriad stalks, but inside them, as if the marsh were sucking down the warm light through innumerable living straws, drop after drop in a wavering, steady, mesmerizing rhythm, and for once no explanation we could think of (that unseen ripples on the cove’s mirrory stillness focused the late sunlight in eely ribbons that scrolled down the blades of spartina) could diminish the marvel we had chanced upon, and we gave up trying to explain it, gave ourselves to it—as if we had ingested some hallucinogen that opened our eyes to what was there all along but had gone unnoticed, each of us in our own pod of selfhood floating on the fetid, primordial cove now held together in awed suspension by these grasses aswarm with lights that also flowed in waves through us, wanting it not to stop, asking ourselves why we’d never seen what had been going on for eons, asking how we could keep it, knowing we could not.
Jeffrey Harrison’s latest collection is Between Lakes (Four Way Books, 2020).
The Light in the Marsh Grass from Between Lakes copyright 2020 by Jeffrey Harrison. Appears with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.