Congaree Crush

"She is like possumhaw or sweetgum." Poetry by Hailey Williams

Congaree Crush
Artwork by Camela Guevara

by Hailey Williams

She is like possumhaw or sweetgum: panacea
in concealment, plays at languor, crescive
even in black waters. She is champion loblolly,
300 years, tucked away, southern rains.
She is unconscionable. I could be:
lightening bug (Morse-code in her ears),
banana spider (on string diaphanous, my web
floodplained glass in her chapeled arms).

To see her as she is, you need wings. I want to

water-stride aloft meniscuses
rising round roots. I am neither bat
snug on her throat nor lissome zephyr
nursing curls of hair. Not toe-pink salamander,
not oxbow lake. I am no great occlusion and
cannot fathom what it is to be a warbler
housed in her knees each spring. I can only say
as she breathes the same sky,

this moment I hold her in my lungs.