let me tell you the story of venus of the swamp.
how she emerged
from the pond scum;
her hair thick with algae
her teeth sharp with promise.
let me tell you of where she learned
of alligator nests and possum dens
of undertow and sinkholes
of the washed up, bloated bodies of
caught in the rocks.
would you believe me if I told you of venus of the swamp?
of a goddess
brought up on cautionary tales
and bred for vengeance?
of a warrior
tempered by controlled burns
who strangled the melaleuca trees right back?
I have to ask
would you believe me if I told you a love story?
so let me tell you the story of venus of the swamp
and let me tell you of what she loved--
of cypress knees and missing posters
of tourist trees and women with keys for claws
of last resorts and lost causes
and let me tell you of what she did--
of choked pythons and the drowned bodies of hungry men
of when the hurricane spared even the littlest fern
of yearning for a fair world
and building it yourself
of passion and compassion
of protection and revenge
and always, in the end,