In the cool of the morning, cars rush

over a small bridge, the brook unseen

or ignored. Trees on each side are stark,

no leaves, no buds, and the water is clear,

but at risk. I am here to test temperature,

nitrates, oxygen –– my test-tubes, flasks,

and thermometer resting in a black box,

my notebook and pencil ready, not sheltered

in the drizzle. Upstream through woods

are buildings, run-off from roads, fields,

fertilizer, all concealed. Under trees nearby

are two chairs used by hunters in the fall.

In this late winter there are wide star patterns

in the melting ice on the pond. Few birds sing.

But they watch me in their home each month,

as I slip in for a small environmental trespass.

Lavinia Kumar’s poetry has appeared in several U.S. and U.K. publications. She is a regular contributor to Poetry24, writes a weekly blog for, and is an editor for PoetryWITS. She also writes pre- and elementary fiction, some illustrated by her.

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