Field Trip with Acid Rain

Mary Cresswell


That afternoon we tramped to the springs

brushing branches and dead leaves aside,

trading terminologies, looking

for tiny mosses sung up by the frogs

who hide and call from lucid pools,

remembering, hoping for new growth

to show them spring might come. We were clear

of the city, nearly free to breathe.


The lake was cold, the woods were bare.

We looked into useless, bottomless pools

where ‘crystal clear’ means ‘don’t drink here’.

Only our voices echoed; no birds sang.

The sun flickered low in the pines

like a dying wasp snagged in resin.


Mary Cresswell is from Los Angeles and lives on New Zealand’s Kapiti coast. She is a former natural history editor and as a poet has published in Australia, NZ, the US, the UK and Canada. Her newest book, Fish Stories, will come out in 2015.

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