The Swale

Roving feet get suctioned in the swale.
Mud leaches between laces and leather
before you see the depression coming.

The valley looked drier, but spring rain
and winter melt had no time to evaporate
or seep deeper into the earth, harmless.

This land rises up in such a way that dips
are unpredictable. Perhaps shallow cavities
will always be damp, hollows I dare not tread,

not even during the hottest drought.
Some swales will never drain enough
to step unburdened. The hiker

is swallowed, boots sucking heavy in muck.
Anxious hands quiver for help, unable
to reach down and untie my own shoes.

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