In the Bottomlands
Sandhill cranes arise from the cornfield
in the whipping dawn,
grey against grey as the sky becomes their wings.
Recent floods have drowned the forests
of peeling river birch.
I entered in my tall green wading boots.
Water traveling through wind in holiness
with the safety of no people like this ancient day
brightens into eternity.
In the air like dog teeth, I am devoured,
torn to eat at my own limbs
for your communion in this wilderness.
I took the moon to soothe the briars
on the mule of my speaking tongue
in exhaustion and drift continuing a red prayer.
John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Red Paint Hill published his first collection, Ring the Sycamore Sky.