DNA is my totem pole, I shall not want.
It leadeth me to lie down amid terrapins at low tide:
It leadeth me beside coiled anacondas.
It restoreth my limbic brain:
It leadeth me on the tao of evolution for no one’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the herpetological vestiges
of primal fear, I will fear no amphibian or reptile,
for thou, deoxyribonucleic acid, are within me.
The helices of thy spiral of immanence guide me.
Thou preparest a swampscape in the presence
of my kindred spirits; thou anointest my mind
with imagery; imagination runneth over.
Surely turtles and tortoises shall follow me all
the dreams of human life, and I will dwell
in the burrow of oroboros forever.
Six Mile Cypress Slough après Howard Hodgkin
This is a poem in black and white
like a black-and-white warbler
in the black-and-white of midday
sun spots and spotting shadows
of wax myrtle sweet bay red maple
bald cypress in green stillness
this is a poem turning the greens
of spring in the slough into strap-fern
green green of alligator flag green of water
hyacinth in algae-green water swamp-lettuce
green green of my envy for the green camouflage
of an orb-weaver’s web empty of spider and prey
this poem swerves into the red
eye of ibis red eye of black-crowned
night heron red in the voice of cardinals
red on the marginal scutes and carapace
of turtles heating up with the day
red my blood red my blood red blood
for Colleen North
Karla Linn Merrifield, a nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had 600+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 12 books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (based in Vancouver, BC), a member of Just Poets (Rochester, NY), the Florida State Poetry Society, and The Author’s Guild. She is currently at work on three manuscripts and seeking a home for The Comfort of Commas, a quirky chapbook that pays tribute to punctuation. Visit her woefully outdated, soon-to-be-resurrected blog, Vagabond Poet, at http://karlalinn.blogspot.com.