At Raritan River Wetlands

From: Zen and the Art of Eco-Poetry

“At Raritan River Wetlands”

I can hear the fiddler crabs only
a second or two before seeing them – hundreds
clawing across the thick mix of silty salt and sand,
retreating into their temporary caverns
a foot or two above the wetland’s brackish vein.

They scuttle between stalks of phragmites – miles
of a plant too intimidating, too greedy
to grant lesser vegetation space to sprout. Standing ten,
maybe twelve feet tall, thriving in this rich muck,
the phragmites make the bounded wetland
what it is: more crowded, more confident
than the muddy marshes north of Cape Cod.

The sediment-loaded tide is rising, my time limited.
The Atlantic’s rhythm of high tide, low tide –
all waves in perpetual flow,
all flora, all fauna in check. Gradually
the fiddlers’ panic dissolves in a calm, lulled rest.

Credit: First appeared in Appalachia 55.1: 55.