Napoem – 23, 24, 25 – Red Slough Field Notes, cont.



Again, in the spirit of NaPo, and in the haze of exhaustion, I am looking at these as notes for what may be a poem later, with a good deal of pruning, cutting, pasting….

April 20, 11:25 A.M.

The Washington couple’s heads are tilted perpendicular to the sky, comparing Black and Turkey Vultures. She asserts the Turkey is more buoyant, he that the Black has better dihedrals. I am torn between faking a look of bored comprehension and suggesting both are best roasted, rubbed with a little lemon and sage.

I am saved by the sight of a Moorhen, which I am told is the first of the season. Chevy says I  must follow till he radios it in. Bob says they taste just like chicken. The bird, possibly suspicious of our intentions, hides under some dead stuff overhanging the marsh, her red beak, a flame igniting the brush.

April 20, 3:00 P.M.

Mervin(?) says we’ll mosey over to “this other lake” where someone shot a trumpeter swan. Off refuge, on highway, fumbling for my seatbelt, Chevy mentions he spent time in the hospital, is still recovering from Wernicke’s, it’s a vitamin deficiency, you know. Bob and I look at each other, think, trifecta – ataxia, ophthalmoplegia, confusion, (alcohol), where are the damn seatbelts?

Barbed wire bars us from the lake. Merlin(?) says this place belongs to Joe Ward, keep low, last time he came out with a gun and shot a few rounds.

Mom was a Ward; I recall what Gramps said – all Wards in this land descend from five brothers. I contemplate inviting old Joe to dig in the dirt among the roots of our mutual tree when his door bangs open and out shoots a little red heeler. Chevy – don’t worry, he’s just looking for food – the dog bypasses the group, launches himself, bounces off my thighs and spies the open door of the Jeep, where Bob is rooting around. The two of them find energy bars.

April 20, 3:05 P.M.

Two men, young, skinny, few teeth, drive up in a red, dented pickup truck. Chevy gives us coordinates – Texas 4 miles due S., Louisiana 14 SE, Arkansas 20 due E. The men ask if we have pics of the trumpeter swans, eye the camera around my neck, triggering – Me: Evidence? Bob: Deliverance? Chevy: Don’t worry they just want meth, slips behind the wheel of his jeep.

They have dead baby chicks, mention nesting owls under a bridge. Irresistible to Washington couple. Harvey(?) says he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Chevy won’t get out of his jeep. The younger man says he’s a Ward and chicken farmer. Creds in order – a relative! Good to go!

Don’t know what he does under the bridge, but an owl wings it to a low branch, glowers.

Chevy’s parting shot is an image on his digital – marsh covered in storks, ibis and heron. Hands us his card – come back in June for the exotic tour.


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