by Angie Macri
In buttonbush shrub, spring cavefish feed
on amphipods by touch. Their eyes judge
night from day. Lorimer built his mill
here at the bend by LaCroix Creek, also called
LaCruz. A priest had put a cross here once
and the name stayed even as the cross
was gone and the creek diverted to channel
the Mississippi’s ways. Wetland
shrubs burn sweet in the sun as the river
takes its sudden turn from Cape Girardeau
to Thebes. I have stood across the way
on the bluff at Thebes as the sun hesitated
in its fall. By then, cavefish were feeding
and kept on until a few hours before dawn
when they returned underground. I never
knew that something would reenter
a spring, backtracking into the fresh
black places marked in stone edges,
waiting for the world to be a cave
of night again. The priests put crosses place
to place, calling the bluffs capes
although the ocean had long gone:
de Roche, St. Cosme (Cinque Hommes),
de la Grotte, St. Antoine (Fountain Bluff),
Pointed, Swallow, Girardot, and Croix.
Now only Cape Girardeau keeps the term.
One day, one priest recorded fifty bears
and shot four for their fat. September,
the Mississippi was shallow enough
for crossing and recrossing into the cane.
The bears, crosses, water mill are long gone.
Eyes feel the pressure of the dawn. Eyes
know night has come, where you belong.