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Robert Wagner


When you say slough,
I see my father sunk
through the ice
among the reeds and weeds
In the dirty cold water.
But he falls only waist-deep--
see sloughs aren't too deep--
Before his feet meet
the cold mud floor
that nourishes this slough.

It's an old lake,
in its final centuries
Before the grasses claim it,
And it's another field
growing corn and beans
rather than reeds and weeds.