I’d heard the Roe Jan Kill
feeds the pond after passing through
Hillsdale and Copake farmland.
Slipping into its marshes I explore
each possible opening
passing cattails and yellow-flowered lily pads
into stagnant pools green-almost-black
gnat-filmed and fronds-thick.
Undergrowth—syrupy Medusa locks,
braided dreads—grabs my paddle
and as backwaters dead-end
I reverse, circle out of tight spots, maneuver
around storm-toppled trees.
A seeming dead end opens through reeds
I barely part. Then I see it—
bending, winding, shallow stream—
On its banks, roots exposed,
severed, as if cut by a saw.
I sit still as light announces itself
then bows to the next frame,
and try to catch the light
until my eyes melt into the kill.