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At Butcher Slough 

Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary

No ducks ply the slough,
no great egrets glide. Wrung out
clouds pattern the marsh
in light ink. Air as crisp as
cave-cooled watermelon.

Silence ambushes me
in this quiet place of
still water, wood pilings—
remains of a mill—
an old railway track.

My lungs catch a scent
I am an egret sensing
fish just beneath the
surface. I dive. Find
gratitude.

A sheet of paper laid on the marsh
absorbs. A suminagashi print:
Sky marbled with frayed clouds.
I hang the print to dry, leave it
for others. A gift of thanks.

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Simona Carini

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