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Sometimes, at night, each one
has a lightning bug in it.
That's how you see them,
under and around the boat.
I drop a pail over the side
think how for herring
they are three meals,
in the flesh of bass
and the deep blueness of whales.
They live their lives unseen,
not just gray mobs without faces
but like calm steady workers
in some underground plot
to keep the world alive.
I stare into the pail
where thousands drift.
When the sky is dark enough
I'll row the dinghy out and lift
oarsful of their dripping light.
I won't miss the sun on the other side
because it is here,
brushed angel wings
when I dive and float
flapping my arms.
Later, I'll towel them from my skin,
taste salmon,
some of the little light.
-Joan Swift

Become an estuary expert!

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