The present is notoriously blind to itself in the first place.
– Robert Haas, introduction to The Best American Poetry 2001
Hey, Haas, it’s 2014, July,
but your sentence sings
like the mantra for today.
A neighbor’s lawnmower
can’t drown out its song,
so I’ll steal your sentence,
tear it from its context. Sorry.
No poetry on this frontier
of suburbia in the Sunshine State
where palmettos and pines
are bulldozed day after day.
My cat downs another scrub jay.
Hell, Haas, more and more
my sentences fall back into
a past tense, testaments
to the times before wild oscars
bullied schools of bluegills,
snakeheads terrorized largemouths,
and pythons wrestled alligators.
My present tense with
a disappearing geography.
The Everglades imprisoned for life
behind the berms of state roads.
Power lines ride U.S. 1 to
Homestead, Marathon, Key West.
Mangroves hang on by their roots.
About Stephen Reilly:
Stephen Reilly's poems appeared in Wraparound South, Main Street Rag, Broad River Review, Cape Rock, Poetry South, and other publications. One of his poems appears in the anthology Florida in Poetry: A History of the Imagination (edited by Jane Anderson Jones and Maurice O’Sullivan, Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Fla. 1995). He works as a staff writer for the Englewood Sun, a daily Florida newspaper with circulation in south Sarasota County, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.