Sunset along the Congaree River


Off the road, trees are farmed,
thin white pines
seeded in lines.

Weak, wispy pines play
tricks on the eyes
flying south on I-95—
optical illusions and arrangements
in unnatural uniformity.

Their brown kaleidoscope
repeats, repeats, repeats set to a
of tires on highway.

But Elysium’s true fields are
old growth groves
near crumbled, cracked roads
with air so heavy mosquitoes float
like gods, or where

otters slide
through cypress roots
gnarled with grace, knees bowing
to the past.

Near these saltwater swamps
is where children long to return
to embrace age—
life’s grand nocturne;

Here, pink sunset is uncertain,
where we can’t step aside and see
down rows of trees,
is where we’ll say
a final Amen
on our knobby, ancient knees.