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Mullican Pines
by Paul Nash and Denise La Neve

Whirring cicadas mimic
the distant doppler whirring
of a lone prop plane

as high summer air shimmers
over the sloping meadow,
down to river's edge.

The Mullica lies shadowed
beneath a cool canopy
of pines and cedars,

a mere trickle caressing
hawthorn, alder, swamp laurel
and wild blueberries.

Its current is like a snake
slithering through flickering,
verdant galleries‐

serpentine undulations
gliding quickly out of sight
in bend after bend

as its course slowly widens,
still meandering sharply
through dappled sunlight.

Curves unfold to open marsh
of pink and white Nymphaea
and yellow Nuphar;

cobalt and teal damselflies
dart over a flexed ribbon
of sunsurface sheen.

The river's flow pendulates
over deep pools and winds down
as time slows to smoke.

Along a silken shoreline,
Drosera's tendrils glisten
with bright solar hues‐

sequins of blue and lilac
luring wingéd messengers
to Medusa's lair.

A pitcher plant's red-veined leaves
above beds of sphagnum moss
are rainwater cisterns

gleaming in the late day sun,
chalices of buzzing death
for unwary flies.

Night falls softly to ripple
the moon's silver reflection
over secret springs.

Whippoorwills chorus their cries
into atonal vespers
of shrill dementia,

calls rising, then falling off,
jeering nocturnal muses,
presaging the dawn.


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