I Propose We Worship Lady Slippers

I hear a neighbor spots a one
but my searches turn up nothing.
Still, there was a quality of mercy
to know he found this rarity
in a bright morning so common.

Fifty years ago, profusions
grew in our wooded bogs. Air soft
after May rain, Dad would rest
his plow in an unadorned field
and pick handfuls for Mom’s table.

I scan the swamp for slipper-orbs
on their fragile green stems.
Pale pink silk around a hollow
filled with purple and yellow stamens
dangling in the crush of wet weeds.

Scan as if a savior might appear
to save them from extinction.
Now Endangered. Too much rain.
Too little rain. Blizzard on Tuesday.
Heat wave on Wednesday.

The reflected sky in the pond,
heart throwing itself into
the abyss in search small miracles.
I propose we worship Lady Slippers
today instead of sitting in a pew.

Each blade of swamp grass poised
in prayer to feel the knife edged
stems emerge. Colors as stained
glass windows for the eye. Is there still
breath for it and an instinct to survive?

Poem by Nancy Huxtable Mohr

Nancy Huxtable Mohr is a retired teacher and arts administrator. She lives part-time in California and Upstate New York. She considers herself a farm girl and grew up amidst wildflowers on her farm. She is a member of the Community of Writers and has taken Independent Poetry Study at Stanford University. Her work may be found in her book, “The Well” ( Butternut Press 2018), and in many journals, most recently at Blue House Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, Blue Earth Review, Rogue Agent, and many others. She was shortlisted for the UK Environmental Poetry Prize in 2022. More of her work can be found at www.nancyhuxtablemohr.org and on social media.