I thought I heard someone
say I was a cryptographer.
What came to mind
was mapmaker.

Two misapprehensions
made a kind of sense. I’d drawn
site plans for our land,
the house we envisioned.

Our pond, the path
a gravel road would follow
to our door. I’d made maps
for permits, for engineers,

to communicate
details of the land,
its relationship to us,
our dreams and our intentions.

But the land encodes more
than I know. Slope and rise,
soil, water, grass, weed and tree.
Kingfisher, heron, rabbit, deer.

What keys the mind employs
to read one meaning as another
—field as dream, land as plan,
space as home—I have no idea.

With hand-drawn maps
I decrypt a cyphered text,
trying like a spy
to get the message right.



About the Author: Devon Marsh’s poems have appeared in Poydras Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Dark Matter, The Lake, The Penmen Review, The Tower Journal, the Kakalak Anthology, and