: Without :

an excerpt by Debora Gregor


Redwings calling, weed to weed.

A lovesick alligator's low notes.

In the dank trappings of an old lotus bed,

silence stood, white‑feathered,


as tall as I was. The whooping crane

let a handful of sandhill cranes nearby

pass for family, but only to outsiders:

in the dead forest of dog fennel,


that floating palace of shadows,

they played shadowy courtiers

to the more brilliant bird. Over the fetor

of Florida, alabastrine towers preened.


But the tall, uncomprehending hero—

our tallest bird—said nothing.

Said, I envy the mosquito,

 the one you don't see reflected beside me


in the black mirror of swamp.

There is no solitude like mine.

The sky lowers itself to my level

and will not weep.