I saw the teeth gleaming out of the bank
while I was standing knee deep in water
which smelled of the sewer because a sewer
ran into it. I'd been wading for miles,
seeking adventure (as ten-year-olds do).
Knock, and the door shall be opened unto
you; seek, and ye shall find. The riverbed
was thick with pungent brown slime. The fish who
fed on this substance, peeling it in strips
from the sand, had flat, wide teeth - like a sheep's -
and their backs sprouted retractable spines,
tipped in something venomous. The molars
I spied in the stratified wall belonged
to something else. They were large, orange, with
deep ridges running across the top. I
fingered them out of the mud, exposing
a long, brownish jaw. Horses don't live well
in Florida. The heat is intense, swamps
rot hooves; field-creatures never stand a chance.
We are a species of meddlers; change
is like a drug to us. The armored man
who rode this beast through water which rose to
its withers carried a Spanish flag on
his shield - which he used to batter natives
senseless. He left his horse behind where it
fell. His children channeled the swamp into
a sea-draining river. Their children filled
that river with sludge. I was no different.
I followed those same urges, that power-
thrill which comes from an irrevocable
act. I wiggled the teeth around in their
sockets, waiting for the centuries to give.