Cedars, 1880

One by one they fell, bull-drug down
the creek, cracker whips electric as the eyes
that guided them. But both ends of the brackish
waterway turned to swamp and things fanned out

like blood on a back road after a deer’s been hit.
Floating anything to the mill ended when gator
nests appeared and the dark beds of mosquitoes
began to move their dreams of soft skin around.

On a clear night you could hear talk of disease,
of things that come out at night that no one’s ever seen
but know are there. A few years and orange groves took
over, a packing house with a tin roof. The buzzards hung

around then, too, their life of waiting for something to die
going on. They know we’re made up of stars, how things
burn out. From a safe distance this stretch of cedar sits
on the horizon like a hope chest. The name stuck. Shingle Creek

then, Shingle Creek now. Wetlands. Protected. No trespassing
after five but it’s too late. We’ve been there, left our rusted
parts behind, nothing so soothing as the sway of Spanish moss
or the sound of wings circling, cutting up the sky with silence.

About the Author: George Bishop’s recent work appears in Pirene’s Fountain and The Medulla Review. New work will appear in Hawaii Pacific Review and The Chaffey Review. Bishop is the author of four chapbooks, most recently the forthcoming "Old Machinery" from White Violet Press. Raised at the Jersey Shore, Bishop attended Rutgers University and now lives and writes in the Orlando, Florida area.