the EPA drained

Susan St. Martin

the 
epa
drained the mill pond
hoping to restore
the land 
scape
to precolonial conditions

which of course
is all
woodlands and swamps

it has
some
  thing
    to
      do
with goodecology
they say
but I think it has
moretodo
with
  post
    modern
      deconstructionist
        ideology

it certainly has
nothingtodo
with 
   
BEAUTY

for the mill pond
was very beautiful

“a looking glass
where the great egret
and the glossy ibis fish”

as I said
in one of mypoems

or

A REFLECTING POOL

as Knight has painted it
in water 
color

for
 
THE OLDEST STORE
 

and the 
TALLEST 
  TREES 
    IN 
     RHODE
       ISLAND

a puddlebrook 
and a leaky little water fall
was all that was left

making mypoem 
and Knight’s painting
look like 
  wishfulthinking  
     picturesque
       makebelieve

the epa put up a
cruel aluminum 
fish
ladder
and a sign prohibiting
the taking of herring
as if herring would swim up stream
to spawn in a missing pond

there’s more rhyme and reason
in thispoem
than in the epa


BEAUTY
     WAS
          RESCUED

by oneman with a
trusty old
pay loader
and a dextrous excavator
that could balance big boulders
on one finger
and build them into walls
all around
and shape a 
gently
  sloping
   smoothstone 
    fish
     ladder
      at the water
       fall
it was the first time I
thought of these machines
as 
friends
  of
    the
      land 
       scape

but with them 
oneman
removed
a decade
of silt build up
and over growth

oneman
sculpted out a hollow
for the pond
like a kid scraping in
the sand box with his hand

I sat there in a kind of
religious stupor
watching the excavation
for
  hours
    at
     a 
      time
deifying nature
you could say

and when oneman
dug a channel
to let the brook pour in
it was a Cecil B De Mille thrill
from the Book of Genesis

I’ll be waiting for the herring
to rediscover the pond
in April
and the mallards to retun

in May
with their ducklings

next fall
I 
 can 
   look 
    forward 
      to
the red maple
mirrored
in the blue water
at the dam

and in January I can watch 
the ice skaters return
from the brink of extinction

I AM

glad to 
enjoy the view
and

I AM

the only animal
that can

and don’t distract me
with the fact
that the millpond
is merely a head
water
for a mill

don’t distract me
with the practical
the utilitarian

she may grind corn
and make a bit
of electricity
intimate with man
and his waterwheels
in her most deep 
private parts

but don’t be so prudish
about seduction
don’t be so hetero phobic
about the
meansofproduction

Susan St. Martin lives with her husband in Adamsville, RI. Her poetry has appeared in Ocean State Poems, Rocky Mountain Rider, First Things, The Osprey, The Westport Harvest Festival Anthology, Mars Hill Review, and Hereditas.