Swamp Zone by Joan Conway

That summer the swamp was our world
I rowed with my sister
among bulrushes and pond lilies
waxy cups, a floating garden
flat disk of leaves
platforms for dragonflies
black veined wings
iridescent in sunlight. 

That summer my uncle fried up frog legs.
‘Just like chicken’ he declared
them sitting on a plate coated in flour
at night I dream of slippery bodies surrounding the cabin
throat pouch ballooning taught
vociferous croaking call missing partners. 

My mother would stretch out
on smooth curved rocks
sunning herself
rubbing lotion on her creamy white thighs
wet and slippery
my uncle massaging oil onto her back
laughing down at her
and told us kids to go play. 

In the swamp zone searching for frogs
how they would lie perfectly still
if you stroked their belly
legs dangling open in some private rapture. 

Where I crouched
stranded amongst the reeds
long taper of leaves surrounding me,
closer to shore
roots left high and dry
by the end of that summer. 

 

Copyright © Joan Conway. First appeared in Poem in Your Pocket Day 2018.

 

Joan Conway lives in NW British Columbia. Her love for the culture and geography of her home strongly influences her work. In 2016 Joan spearheaded the creation of ‘Writers North of 54, a poetry collective whose main objective is to express the unique voice and landscape of this place. Joan sees her poetry as an avenue to create social change, build community, and to celebrate life. Joan’s studio, Green Blossom, is partially used as a venue for bringing poets to the north. Her work appeared in several anthologies and literary magazines. She is currently completing her first book of poetry ‘Singing the Night.’

 

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