you climb out the mouth of the gulf
and meet the wide molars of the missippi,
the wet gums of earth swelling against
the worn body of our beaten deltas,
our mountains sable-toothed & half-magic,
our rivers we might have lost long ago.
you open a rough throat and threaten to swallow our cities.
the people of texas burn citronella candles,
learn how to see in the dark.
the loose thumbs of garage-rusted kayaks &
cajun combat boots and huge-hearted mothers
come back again to save us,
like they always do,
like we weren't always already drowning.
these days I try to breathe even & keep my car clean.
these days I comb the cobwebs out my hair & the cicadas off the front porch,
bake the bread till she gets tough & tender,
stretch my back against miles of nettle & bed & pavement &
try to remember that we must be both wild & still.