With salt in the offing, the sluggish river declines
to rush: her flanks flag, dawdle, take in the sights.
Sea-lettuce scales the brackish backwash, slights
canoeists, drifts in egret-priested lines.
Death commingles here with life, and dines
in wayside kitchens; where the fly alights,
cross-hairs twitch silver; sudden appetites
explode even the mayfly's mild designs.
The deep ahead now scarcely pulls this blood,which curls and clings to talismanic signs,
backwater reconstructions of remembered mud:
here, when a certain tidal swell remindsof old affairs mistaken at the flood,
the subtle serpent drools her anodynes.