At the botanic garden, a map
claims there is a swamp
and I am a cynic through yards
of paths until boardwalk
over black water. Green lacing
fractions of surface. You spot
a pie-sized portion of honeycomb
floating. Amber grids waiting to feed
unseen animals. This water thick with mirroring
such that I imagine our time doubled for our duplicates,
whom I do not lean to see. This dark fluid an event horizon.
We cannot stay to learn what lurks. We try a perimeter
path, completing our orbit back toward parked
cars and what looks to be wedding guests
we keep our distance from, nearing signs
naming roots within the ground.
Vanessa Couto Johnson is the author of Pungent dins concentric, her first full-length book (Tolsun Books, December 2018). “Try the yen relish,” a sixteen-page prose poem sequence, is in a first BoxSet from Oxidant | Engine. Softblow, Thrush, Field, Blackbird, Cream City Review, and other journals have featured her poetry. She is the author of three chapbooks: speech rinse (Slope Editions’ 2016 Chapbook Contest winner); rotoscoping collage in Cork City (dancing girl press, 2016); and Life of Francis (Gambling the Aisle’s 2014 Chapbook Contest winner). She is currently a Lecturer at Texas State University, where she earned her MFA.