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  • Kissing Toads

    Once there was a toad with eyes like emeralds.
    I followed him all through the marsh
    fending off flirting females when they drew near him.
    He smirked at my loyalty, scoffed at my awe.
    Through his silt I waded... I parted the pond for him.
    I grew weary trudging through his smug demeanor
    and ridded myself of him before the lily pads bloomed.

    One ardent rogue believed himself to be the lord of all toads.
    He perched his body of brawn on granite boulders
    while cicadas crooned for him in the spill of the waxing moon.
    Lovers swooned as he caught fireflies with his tongue.
    From his throne he croaked among the ruck
    touting his trove of jeweled warts.
    I took my leave as flecks of golden maple tumbled to the water.

    Then there was the mother who tethered her handsome toad.
    The two lived among the bittersweet that grew like stakes.
    She scoured skunk cabbage in search of plump beetles;
    she kicked up thick sludge collecting fat slugs.
    She presented them on plates of water lily;
    he swam at her side; I took my place in their wake.
    Soon the pond grew too crowded; I trailed the dragonflies up stream.

    One toad was the master of all foolish games.
    He hid from me among the pickerelweed
    forcing me to search him out as night time deflated.
    When finally I found him, he toyed with me
    puffing up his big, billowy throat, chortling guttural calls,
    the same calls he used to rouse all of his lovers.
    I stayed until crystal shavings settled on the river's edge.

    As green clover burst, a charming toad stilled my water.
    Our laughter was a melody sang on soft mounds of mud.
    The trill of his voice was intoxicating; I wore his crown of enchantment.
    We listened to the whistling wind whisper through the reeds.
    By the hand of a silky moon he tamed me with his tender touch.
    We swam in warm water for two seasons, and then one night
    he spied a damselfly among the hollow rush and stole away.

    Nights I swim between the cattails kicking my stout legs.
    I catch my own fireflies, I dig my own grubs.
    I lay on smooth driftwood and sing with the peepers.
    At dawn I trail the ripples of loon who drift side by side.
    In my burrow I feast on jimson weed and dream of rice falling like rain
    and of creamy moonshine dripping from a crescent moon
    while I devour a ladle-full of handsome toad.

    Pamela Wilonski
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