Losing the Wekiwa
by Willow Rose
Swamp still and stagnant,
a sudden ebb to its flow;
No shimmering in the sunlight,
just moving turgid and slow.
Our last time at the cabin,
primitive and unseen;
like the other cabin owners
we had painted it green,
kept the river clean and blended in.
Ours was the best of all I thought.
The reason I forgave the man
my daughter and I called “Mad Professor.”
He was patient and kind at the river;
and as we listened to the owl at night
and shined gators whose red ember eyes
surfaced amongst a blanket of lily pads;
there were so many in the water we swam in –
we were just a little happier in that quaint place;
I learned dainty white flowers were poison oak
and we went without showers and smelled like
wood smoke and he; he was a little less drunk.
Now the nocturnal symphony of gator-call, cricket-wing
hoot owl and cicada, along with the whip-or-will
was still. The cacophony of a bulldozer, sounding
far, then closer was above the rhythms of nature, sleepless
even at midnight; fueled by all that was green,
whether from deep pockets or a tender sapling.
The muddy river bank where raccoons; deer; possum
and sometimes panther or bear left their calling cards
for us to figure out, well, they were gone now
anyway. Soon the forest floor would be covered
with tile and grout. I sat on the porch remembering —
the first night and now and the six years in between.
All wild nature had fled its own rape. No shy turtles
sunning on algae-veined rocks; Shell Island where arrow-heads
and old pottery could be found; I didn’t want to know
if they razed it to the ground. Leaving, we saw what
the nights work was; gates to surround an exclusive enclave.
Whimsically named after what they didn’t bother to save.
“Deer Run;” “Riverbank Estates;” “Eagle Eyre;” and worse.
Only the wealthy could ever afford
the “Pristine, riverfront property.”
They would think themselves the privileged ones;
Enjoying concrete, glass, and the occasional tree.
Never knowing the real Wekiwa where we shined gators
and watched eagles; it belonged to no one,
it was the best when free.
© by Willow Rose 2012