Swamp Thing

Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

I am a part of all that I have met.

—Tennyson, “Ulysses”

So here I am collectively alone,

on my own, conjoined with all the world.

I gargle mud, amass debris I’ll hoard

until it’s part of  me, then plod along.

You could consider me a “klepto-snail”

that leaves a sludgy trail of afterbirth.

Today’s remains, tomorrow’s fecund dawn!

Reinvent—that’s what we swampies do

or at the marshy thresholds we’ll congeal,

our voices lost within the froggy chorus,

for what came first, the monster or the swamp?

We eat our trash while winnowing for treasure

within ourselves, destroying to create—

or should that be the other way around?

Out of the ooze… I know just who I am:

a viscous broth adrift in dark lagoons

with techno eels where brash mosquito buzz.

Thus blinded by the brutal firefly bytes

I’m just a creature feature-loving Homer—

What would I give to be a daisy drowsing

            beneath the sun on alabaster banks…



Felicia Sanzari Chernesky is a longtime editor, slowly publishing poet, and author of six picture books, including From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! and The Boy Who Said Nonsense (Albert Whitman & Company). In 2018 she moved away from the masthead of an academic quarterly to work with those who want to share their ideas, stories, and poems in print.