"Nature's Sanctuary," by Jory Westberry
Dawn’s moisture shellacs
fragile targets in the deep prairie grasses
with glints of crystalline color, ever-changing
as solar power intensifies and
they are invisible to all but the arachnid.
Pileated woodpecker stabs his beak violently
against the tree, jarring the reverie.
You’d think he’d choose the rotten, spongy wood
of an ancient cypress nearby, a tiered condominium
for the winged creatures of the swamp
and the scurriers of the ground.
The limpkin family steps out and around obstacles
in their quest for land snails to feed their fuzzy youngsters.
Decorously, the adults remove the snail,
holding it for the tiny beaks to peck
and feel the accomplishment
of foraging for themselves.
Lettuce lakes wear miniature corsages
sturdy enough to support the slender feet of the heron
and clever enough to hide the ripples of the jouncing green frog.
Stymied again, the otter, good-naturedly makes a leap
for another hillock, like the entire mishap was planned.
In the stillness, invisible breezes strum only the tops
of the giant timbers, cascading drops below.
Primordial aromas drift past, reminders
that we, the visitors, are indeed, intruders.