Mosquitoes attach themselves to the undersides of leaves; their husks litter trees, shimmering underthings.
Children’s voices unfold, always hungry. They suck my limbs; their cries bind my narrow bones.
The sawed-off edges of their voices splinter, crack. Children crawl and scream, held inside
the eaves—their brave contorted faces. Nothing delivers me from them. They will not sleep.
Mosquitoes weave their bodies through the screens. Rain prattles down the spout, fertile rain.
Farewell to Florida
Good-bye my orchid, how I have loved you, the subtle dream of your varying blue, the verdant arc of your stem, how you survive only in certain places, how much else we have in common I can only guess.
Good-bye my back yard full of palm trees swishing, bristling, full of tiny lizards who climb up the screen porch to soak in hot sun. Good-bye my two lounge chairs by the pool where we rarely sat, but I always thought fondly of you.
Good-bye all the mighty bird sounds, the egrets, the great blue herons, the anhinga who spread her wings to dry. Good-bye to the creature I glimpsed one day by the pool’s edge. Whether he was a monitor lizard or baby alligator, I will never know.
When I went out after the dog’s bark scared him away, I found the chameleon he had chased into the pool, and I rescued her. Not knowing whether she lived or died, I crouched and watched her, stunned and mute in the grass; she, too, has run away.
Margo Taft Stever’s book, CRACKED PIANO, will be published by CavanKerry Press in 2019. Her four poetry collections include The Lunatic Ball, 2015; The Hudson Line, 2012; Frozen Spring, 2002; and Reading the Night Sky, 1996. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies including upstreet, Blackbird, Salamander;Poem-A-Day, The Academy of American Poets, Cincinnati Review, PrairieSchooner,New England Review,Connecticut Review, Poet Lore, West Branch, Seattle Review, and No More Masks. She is the founder of the Hudson Valley Writers Center and the founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. For more information, please see www.margostever.com.