Santee River Delta, South Carolina
by Krikor Der Hohannesian
draped over the knobby knee
of a majestic cypress,
a cotton-mouth dozes
wrapped in a blanket
of cozy April sunshine
astride the far bank a young doe
hesitates, eyes us warily, spindly
legs on tremulous alert, nostrils flared,
before bounding off apace
through the swamp grove,
flushing a wild turkey
from its morning bath
amid the cat-o-nine tails
in a wild flail of wings
we, the intruders,
paddle ahead quietly,
feather oars with great care
to mask the ripples
of our trespass
PHOTO: Kayak on Wambaw Creek, Francis Marion National Forest, South Carolina. Photo from hugenotsociety.org, All Rights Reserved.
NOTE: Wambaw Swamp is located northeastern Charleston County, South Carolina, within the Francis Marion National Forest, and consists of 4,755 acres designated as a wilderness area. This forest wetland is a mix of river-bottom hardwood and pine. To the southeast lies the Little Wambaw Swamp Wilderness, a 4,967-acre wilderness area managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Wambaw Creek Wilderness protects 1,832 acres of the watershed along the Charleston and Berkeley County line as it leaves the swamps and empties into the South Santee River. Wambaw Creek is a blackwater tidal creek that meanders through the Wambaw Creek Wilderness Area. Kayaks can run either upstream or downstream using the tide direction.
PHOTO: Wambaw Swamp, Francis Marion National Forest, South Carolina. Photo by C. Van Dyke, used by permission.
MAP: Location of Wambaw Creek within South Carolina, about 55 miles northeast of Charleston.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Wambaw Creek is a tidal estuary in the Santee River Delta country in South Carolina. I rowed the creek for a full day with friends—the vegetation and wildlife were abundant. One could reach into the creek waters and pull up shrimp and crabs for that night’s dinner.
PHOTO: Kayaking on Wambaw Creek, Francis Marion National Forest, South Carolina. Photo by gopaddlesc.com, All Rights Reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Krikor Der Hohannesian’s poems have appeared in over 175 literary journals, including The South Carolina Review, Atlanta Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review, Comstock Review, and Natural Bridge. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, author of two chapbooks, Ghosts and Whispers (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Refuge in the Shadows (Cervena Barva Press, 2013) as well as a full-length book, First Generation (Dos Madres Press, 2020). In 2011, Ghosts and Whispers was a finalist for the Mass Book awards poetry category.