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Stephen Dunn Poems
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Walking The Marshland by Stephen Dunn
It was no place for the faithless,
so I felt a little odd
walking the marshland with my daughters,

Canada geese all around and the blue
herons just standing there;
safe, and the abundance of swans.

The girls liked saying the words,
egret, whooping crane, and they liked

when I agreed. The casinos were a few miles
to the east.
I liked saying craps and croupier

and sometimes I wanted to be lost
in those bright
windowless ruins. It was April,

the gnats and black flies
weren't out yet.
The mosquitoes hadn't risen

from their stagnant pools to trouble
paradise and to give us
the great right to complain.

I loved these girls. The world
beyond Brigantine
awaited their beauty and beauty

is what others want to own.
I'd keep that
to myself. The obvious

was so sufficient just then.
Sandpiper. Red-wing
Blackbird. "Yes," I said.

But already we were near the end.
Praise refuge,
I thought. Praise whatever you can.
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