Intensive Care

Plain-bellied Water Snake, non-venomous denizen of the Southeastern US.
I walk in these woods
nestled deep within a
tangle of highways

The hum of traffic
beyond the treeline elaborates
what a calm clouded day
could have settled completely
without raising its voice

Fire and storm, unrest
flood and calamity, all at some
distance now, a stunning calm
as I rest on a bench

Cooper's Hawk swoops
low through the canopy
and finds a perch nearby

A female Common Yellowthroat
works a boggy shallow near the parking lot
as young mothers stroll
with infants in carriages

Snakes uncoil in the
tan water by the boardwalk
in the heart of this sprawling city
and in the pit of my stomach

Restaurants and business offices
and butterflies, the damp
forest floor, tree shade, the air

I surrender myself to the sum of it
to the expert nursing staff
here in intensive care
Gulf Fritillary
Monarch

The Houston Arboretum at Memorial Park, Houston, Texas.