Wait. Acres of mangrove roots tangle,
a tousled upheaval, and you
do not know the land. Though it’s
beautiful. Unfamiliar. And the ocean,
oh! is right there. Just past the root snarl,
salted breeze from the water, uh oh, thicker
mud and slip the sole, aye! limbs akimbo,
breathe. There’s nothing that could hurt
you here, though there was that rumor
of alligators—or were they crocodiles?
No, alligators. And displaced pythons so cold
they’re forsaking their nocturnal nature
and slithering out in daylight. Hungry. No.
That’s just another root. It’s your mind making
it slink. But the ocean! It’s there! Through a
window of mesh wood, you see it so close,
you can feel the soft air in your lungs. What
exactly are you afraid of? The alligators?
Really? A little gray mud? The kettle
of buzzards aswirl overhead? Or the way
the roots twist into jail bars between
where you are and what you want and the lack
of a key or bravery, but the view is so fine
you want it to touch inside your coat, your
dampening socks, your jubilant, scaredycat heart.