Oyster Boy Review 14  
  Winter 2001
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» Levee 67


A Late Tatter of Eden

Will Inman

After sustained hard rains, Burnt Mill Creek
swelled over its dark banks, sometimes washed out
the bridge along Colonial Drive to Forest Hills
Elementary School.
                                Early on, I observed
the difference between nature's rage and natural
                        Creekwaters ran serene most seasons.
bottomsand shone golden under Elodea
and Vallisneria. Striped Dace and fat female
Gambusias escorted the smaller males, the eldest
gone black and white—all swam sheer in open
currents. I
                never tried wading or swimming
during high water, but I waded often or swam
naked in a deeper bowl, white sand under flashes
of sun through tall cypress green.
                                                Cardinal flowers
bloomed creek-edge, hummingbirds sucked the dark
reds. My toes went mussels tunneling brief in
sand or mud. Brown snails seemed neither deceived
nor amused.
                        Delgado mill-boys, come to bathe,
saw me as an alien snob from an enemy class. I was
too afraid to view them as potential allies.
I persisted. God spoke in languages of vines
scraping high in trees. Zebra swallowtails flew
magic down green ways. A slim greensnake mocked