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A few years ago, I wrote a short story, which was an attempt at sci-fi fantasy. It failed miserably. But I loved the world I created in the story of Asrai, a mermaid, and Blue Dog, a shape-shifting surfer (who transformed into a mackerel shark at will). I’ve played with the themes in the story and some of them roll into my poems now and then. I started a “Sea Fan Girl” series with three poems, and these are a continuation of those poems, that I’ve just written this week. These might be failed experiments, too, but a failed experiment is sometimes necessary to get to the real work. Meanwhile I’m having some formatting problems with WordPress. Blame it on the rain.  -Leah

Asrai. IV

Some nights she didn’t swim but instead just stood on Scarborough Beach
In the full moon’s glow. She’d spread out a tattered cape on the cold sand,
Nibble urchin eggs and crab legs. Dragontails of sea kelp let her arms reach
Into upper inlets of a brook, where she’d left her purse, and came to understand
That the shark she’d been watching, the mackerel shark, was him, Blue Dog,
The same surfer who stared at her red spiraling hair underwater in the waves.
She studied the tidal pools through a lens of moonbeams like a lit scope or fog
Illuminating crevices full of colorful creatures—a sea anemone, a purple urchin
Its living needles supple & working as instruments to gather food; a hermit crab
Crawled along the bottom with its house on its back. She plucked a needle from
A dead urchin and began to repair her swimsuit, which was coming undone.
It was a drab-green kelp two-piece and a very last-minute choice.

Asrai V

Her mother hunted for treasure, before her, and took Asrai on great adventures
As a mermaele, when Sedna cared for her young. That was before her mother
Joined the band of the Lock-Breakers, who mapped man-made enclosures,
Sought to break the locks, the gates and tear apart fishing nets, alluring gear.
Asrai never met her father, although she often wondered if he was a kelpie.
Something in her blood longed for wide expanses of undersea meadows
And sand bars, where she could gallop and play. Sable Island had been
A favorite vacation spot and she enjoyed watching the horses canter
Along the strange ten mile sand dune in the North Atlantic.
It was said that the Arabian horses brought to Sable Island were,
In fact, kelpies that had lost their ability to swim into the sea.
She often wondered if one of them knew her father but never asked.
If a kelpie was startled, the endangered sea horse
Might drag a mermaid to death. So, she invented stories
An imagined history of her father, the “knight,” or “victor.”
Trouble was, there wasn’t any royalty in her bloodline,
Only conspiracy-theorists.

Asrai VI

Reproductively speaking, it didn’t make sense for a mermaid to put
All her eggs in one basket. The Sea Fan King encouraged diversity
And opposed fears of intermingling between species. You could not
Discriminate in the ocean. This was deep law. Or, a deep ecology.
Over the decades, she had fallen into the bad habit of fostering certain
Stereotypes about species—including her own. Despite the deep laws,
Asrai believed that most, if not all, dolphins were date-rapists; manatees—
Too needy; sharks liked to tag-team, and seals had bad breath. Walruses
Had a reputation no mermaid wanted them to prove. Her private fantasies
Revolved around the secretive, tragic narwhals, and one who was lost.

Asrai VII

This was all funny to her until she swam past a school of hourglass dolphins,
An omen of time. Her mother had shown her how to split her tail for make-shift
“Legs,” so she could scramble onto dry land in strategic treasure hunt missions.
Islands, sand bars and coastal inlets were the best places to lift rocks and sift
Through shell middens and find buried artifacts. More recently she sought
Sunken treasures of Marie Antoinette, whose ships were sent to Maine
In preparation for her escape from France. When the queen never arrived
In Wiscasset, Maine, her ships were looted; bejeweled things and mahogany
Went overboard in scuffles. Asrai was drawn to the mystery and felt alive,
Uncovering gems in the mudflats of the Sheepscot. When she didn’t find any,
She liked to slink ashore a tiny island and collect sea glass to tide her over.
Sucking on saltgrass, she breathed in the sea wind, however uncanny,
And strummed the byssal strings of her driftwood lute, inlaid with paua
Shell, her favorite violets and teals decorated the neck, a natural beauty.

LCS

I arrived at the Department of Mysteries’ Center for Occupational Prophecies, where I attended a required workshop–after one hour of sleep last night. Because I’m not used to city parking situations, I got a little lost between the garage and Department of Mysteries building (but my wand, er, smartphone, led me in the right direction.) I’m not too proud to say that I also got lost on my way back to the garage but by then, I was under the influence.

The man leading the workshop smiled like he was full of smelly cheese a la Professor Slughorn as he loaded his PowerPoint. Posters with backward lettering, apparently motivational spells, clung to the wall with Scotch tape. A smoky haze of cigarettes, marijuana and fire-breathing dragon breath immediately enveloped me in Conference Room B. (The Death Eaters were in Conference Room A, thank goodness.) Most of the attendees gruffed and puffed over the necessary paperwork. Most of us had filled out our Star Trek logs prior to the workshop. I held my breath in between moments when I could not contain myself and blurted out: “Is this the workshop where we learn how to write an ‘effective resume’ or is that next week?” and “Wait, is that an example of ‘what to do,’ or ‘what not to do?’ Both are grammatically incorrect.” *Shudder* Apparently grammar is a matter of opinion. Not surprisingly, it was followed by a bulleted list of tips: 1) Use correct grammar, 2) Maximum 1 page (etc. It really only got worse from there.) Here’s an example of a resume that the Workshop Wizard liked:

John Smith
15 Plain Road
Anyplace, ME 04099

Tools I Know:

Drive tractor. And 4-Wheelers.                                         Compressers
Cutting tools                                                                    Electric discharge machine
(Etc.)                                                                                 Misc. tools

4d8747b630bc9052300ef9497c024a19

At the 10:30am break

Clearly, the Workshop Wizard prefers the functional format, which hiring managers have practically outlawed. When I overheard some guys in the back row grumble, “Here she goes again,” and moan any time I asked a question or made a comment, trying to help the innocent, I clammed up. I wished I’d brought my invisibility cloak. Or, at least magic ink so that my SS# and contact information wouldn’t be visible on the sign-in sheet as it was passed from person to person at an alarmingly sluggish rate, especially in the back row.

After the workshop, I fled on my broomstick into a nor’easter. It’s the kind of snow that splinters your eye balls with miniature ice picks. Wind blew long curls into my mouth and I walked awkwardly along the slushy side-walk, swearing and muttering. People avoided me. I probably looked like one of those “Lost Souls” from the Lakes Region. (We don’t get off the Mountain of Doom very often.) By the time I had circumvented the block twice and changed direction (my eye glasses fogged into a cataract-glaze), I was dazed and confused like Liv Tyler. I felt hot under the collar. My pretty blue wool coat smelled like college days and frat parties. Finally, I found the parking garage and climbed the stairs to the 4th floor–but my sea green Subaru was not there! Did I get towed? Oh, no! I scrambled up the stairs to the 5th, then the 6th floors, horrified to see giant mounds of snow I hadn’t seen before. Merlin’s beard! I’ve been towed! I knew this public parking garage–albeit inconveniently located but only at a $2/hr rate was too-good-to-be-true! Argh! In slight panic mode, or more realistically, an allergic reaction to Conference Room B in the Department of Mysteries (Miseries?) I took the elevator down to the ground level and found a nice parking attendant who was willing to look for my car (on the 6th, 5th, 4th and finally, 3rd floor), while I had an neurotic breakdown, probably breaking out into hives by this point. (I tipped the helpful fellow and thanked him profusely.)

Then, as I warmed up the car, relieved it had not been towed, I listened to a new voicemail: “Leah, you have been selected to attend a required workshop next Thursday….” (in addition to the one I’ve been selected to attend on Tuesday.) When am I supposed to practice casting the Patronus charm? When I am supposed to study for the OWLs? When am I supposed to fight evil and save the world?

Tomorrow night’s the full moon in dramatic Royal-Leader-of-Meltdowns-and-Billowing-Manes-Leo. This blast of energy lasts 10 days.

Recently, I received a letter. When I called the State Department of Mysteries in response to the letter, the state employee asked me, “What color is the letter?” This is like dinner at Applebees. Every time I ordered a salad there, I ended up with a hair in my salad and a waitress who’s been trained to ask, “What color is it?” (I stopped that nonsense years ago.) So when the DOM employee learned my letter was white, she said, “Good thing it wasn’t yellow,” followed by similar responses to my specific questions. And the magic continues…

I have been “selected to participate in a required program.” Just call me Harry Potter for I am the chosen ONE.  (Side note: To me, this sounds on par with a forced lottery win, or, decapitation role play.) Benefits of said required program include “unlimited access to computers, office equipment (!), Internet access and the expertise” (of career center employees). Wow. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. And I must gather a few things to take on this adventure, which starts this week and continues through next week (my birthday week). They didn’t list “unlimited access to a toilet” so I hope they have one, since these are day-long workshops.

The “white letter” (and sundry follow-up notices and voicemails) tell me I need to bring the following required items with me: 1) Star Trek Log, 2) Elder Wand, 3) straight face when I am serenaded by Roy Orbison-superfan (again), 4) a jar of paste to eat while I learn how to write an “effective resume,” 5) my Girls Scouts cantene–empty, since they might not have a bathrooom with unlimited access. I should also probably bring a Sit-Upon while I’m at it. Gramma taught me to be prepared at long town meetings and how to stuff newspaper into a trash bag so I don’t get my butt wet sitting on moss, or questionable office chairs with unlimited access. I have a sneaky feeling I wasn’t the only chosen one.

Poet’s note: I am just coming out of a migraine that I had for the second half of the day (over 6 hours anyway). So this is late by 40 minutes but I technically started it early the morning of Jan. 10, so it counts. And you don’t really want to read what I was working on while in the depths of the Dantesque “Inferno” that is my migraine-state-of-mind.

Impediment

Laura asked, “Why are you a poet?”
It’s compulsory, I said, not because
I want to write; I cannot avoid it.

Long before I could hold a pen,
When I was little, I lugged a clunky
Tape recorder around our huge house;
I found an empty outlet and plugged
It in and pressed the chunky buttons
To record made-up poems and stories,
Read books about mammals aloud;
My toddler brother and I made gory
Cassettes with “haunted sound effects”
Then re-played them to entertain us.

In my thirties, once, as a failed
Experiment, I attended a support
Group (what happens in Anxiety Club,
Stays in Anxiety Club); a last resort,
Hoping to meet like-minded veterans
Of the literary profession, but this
Backfired. Novices, triology-obsessed
Novelists, trichotillomaniacs.

Compelled the way some people
Chew pens or eat paper, I have a literal
Fixation with words. I chew on them.
Verbs click against my teeth; marbles
Big glass shooters, and little onionskins,
Cane-cut swirls, blue specks of mica
Suspended in spheres of crashed glass
The speech therapist in elementary
School pulled me out of math class
And beseeched me to recite a
Sentence over and over in my sweetly
Crooked mouthfuls, I’d enunciate
To overcome a girlish lisp.

I still have it.

Tangible details—these are the closest
I’ll get to wearing braces; tight prose
Retains better than a paper clip,
Jammed like pretend orthodontics
I wore in 6th grade to assimilate.
My dentist—out of sympathy,
Explained, “I’d have to break
Your jaw twice a year. There’s
No permanent solution to fix
Genetic cross-bite like yours.”

Every other syllable

Slips

like drool

between

Partially sealed lips,
Deformed and thin as baleen
Stretched off-center, between
Rosy, frost-bitten cheeks.

This is what it’s like
Talking with marbles
In your mouth.

No wonder I write.

Special thank-you offer for those who donate to Tupelo Press for the 30/30 Challenge: Anyone who donates $250 or more to support this 30/30 poetry challenge this month may choose either of TP’s gorgeous broadsides, one of Ilya Kaminsky’s “Author’s Prayer,” the other of Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s “The Ghost-Fish Postcards.” Both may be seen here.  Please indicate which one you would like by writing “Aimee” or “Ilya” in the same space on the donation form (where you may also indicate that your gift is made in support of my part of the 30/30 poetry challenge.)

On Discovering a Crack in the Cornerite

A long slim crack runs down like a dark drip of dried paint
In the corner of my bedroom, where two cream-colored walls meet
Ninety degree angles to frame the southwest border—in feng shui,
Activate the love in your life by attracting yang chi, a golden phoenix,
Mandarin ducks, or dragons (I have frogs and mermaids, silly me).

Five years ago, there weren’t any flaws in the plaster, at least
My eyes did not detect a weak spot; storms and shifty energy
Pulled the big pieces apart, slowly, over time, and I just noticed
The definite divide in white; it’s probably brought on lethargy,
An indicator of “bad” feng shui, cracks challenge intimacy.

I dreamt of Stephen King’s Langoliers last night; they’d come
To eat my memories. I seek safety in my best nightmares
At my grandparents’ house, usually the attic; but feral cat-like
Fur-balls with big eyes and teeth slunk out of the barn, where
Grampa kept electric drill presses; these protect me in dreams.

Such cracks in plaster, and prevention, stirred interest among
Architects in the 1920s; they studied the upward phenomenon,
The movement of the outer edge (take note: the order of walls)
Which partitioned the structure, created the stressors of some
Peeled the papery lime layers away from the cornerite’s seam.

At my first improvisational comedy class, I was late; street
Side parking a bit more complicated than expected. I joined
A semi-circle of sock-footed participants, the meet-and-greet,
Each talking about their “edge,” whether lost or found, they coined
The term in a way I didn’t bet: it meant the margin of vulnerability.

My usual reaction, make a joke (but this wasn’t comedy, not yet)
I live at the edge of a lake, well, not technically; I’m in the ecotone.
Sprawled across my bed today, my focus switched, it re-directed
Attention toward that crevice; it reinforced a conclusion, one
I’d reached on the drive home—this device, my “edge,” had pre-sets
Too narrow, no room for cuts, bleeds or formatting errors—

All human, on and off the page.

– Leah C. Stetson  TP Donate

In the middle of the heat wave in Maine, I’m under the gun with a deadline at work…and grateful for air conditioning in my writing room. Since starting the new job, I haven’t had much time (if any) to write for myself, except for journal entries. Even then, it’s practically forced.  Regular swims break up the long hours at my desk doing the graphic design lay-out and provide relief from the heat. So do pineapple coconut popsicles. Today I’m editing at my desk with my feet in a large pail of ankle-deep water. Lovely. Why didn’t I think of doing this before?

Recently I received a set-back in the form of a rejection from a publisher on my poetry manuscript. Serious bummer. I’ve always had a thick skin though especially with rejection (at least, with writing). Laughed it off over dinner with a friend and went to see a comedy–“Heat” with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. As my dad would say, it delivers a few good belly laughs, even though the plot is fairly predictable. It’s probably better with a margarita in hand.

NewGlassesDG

Just got new eye glasses and very pleased:  they make me feel like I’ve got my mojo back from 10 years ago. I can’t explain it but they’ve put a little pep in my step. The eye glass technician who fitted the glasses onto my face introduced himself like this: “Hello. I am Wolfgang, the opera singer.”  Wolfgang Liese belonged to the Washington National Opera.  Apparently this is his ‘retirement position,’ as he used to own a business called, “Classical Eyewear,” long ago. He’s probably close to 70. I told him about my blog on classical music inspired by wetlands. He sang the lead in “The Marriage of Figaro.”  He continued in a strong (German?) accent, “When I was born, Christ bestowed a gift upon me. I have the rare ability to look at a woman and know exactly what she needs and wants. For you…” (he stared at my face intently, heating up the frames of my new glasses, then cooled them and put them on my face) “…you are perfect.” This was an unusual eye glass fitting, let me tell you. And there were two pairs to fit (and replace my unfortunate glasses that I wore for 4 years.) Hurrah! Ironically, the Jimmy Choo sea green pair (not pictured) came in a white snakeskin, I’m assuming faux, case. (I didn’t pick this out.) Year of the Water Snake? Ah, I’m dreading my post on Strange Wetlands about the Northern Water Snakes making a serious come-back as a species in Maine, by the way.

If you’re fumbling around for the right writing routine, read this blog post by Maria Popova on the Daily Routines of Famous Writers. I liked it. Perhaps Hemingway invented the stand-up desk. Does anyone know if that’s true? If so, leave a comment. Stay cool, kitties.

This past weekend we had a mini ice storm in the mountains of western Maine where I live. My dog and cat snuggled by the fire as I worked on “Wetland Breaking News” and a Water Resources Protection Ordinance draft.

As ice crackled in the trees, I listened to Prairie Home Companion, broadcast from New York City, on the radio. Garrison Keillor relayed the News from Lake Wobegon, including a climate change skeptic’s love story that was really charming. I find climate change skepticism akin to astrological skepticism – as astrology is based on science, the same physics used in astronomy, according to my astronomy professor at St. Lawrence University. I try to avoid arguments with people who are skeptical of climate change…or astrology for that matter. In looking back, I found the predictions for the Chinese “Water Dam” year uncanny in their relevance to what we’ve seen for natural disasters this year in the U.S.

Last winter in a February Strange Wetlands blog post, I wrote about 2012 as the “Black Water Dragon” or “Water Dam” year in the Chinese calendar. Astrologers predicted a focus on dams, water, levees and floodplains management, under a strong stormy and dark water influence, including a storm or heavy flooding event in late 2012. Water problems, including dramatic changes in water levels, were also predicted for the “Water Dam” year. In a recent Compleat Wetlander post, my boss, Jeanne, noted that the last time the Mississippi River levels were at a record low was 1940, also a dragon year. The last time we had a “water dragon” year was 60 years ago, when my mother was born in 1952, a year when all of the named storms attained “hurricane” status. Among the six hurricanes that year, Hurricane Fox (Oct. 20-28, 1952) a Category 4, killed 40 people and wrought $10 million in damages (that’s in 1952; in 2012 that would be equivalent to $87.5 million in damages). It was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the U.S. …until this most recent hybrid storm, Sandy, in October 2012.

At my job at ASWM, I’ve been responsible for developing content for the Climate Change resources section of the aswm.org website. In response to Hurricane Sandy, I post news, analyses and reports related to the storm and her impact on wetlands, as well as the relationship between hurricanes and wetlands on a new section of the website. See Hurricane Sandy news here.  If you’re looking for information on particular sea level rise tools, pilot studies and storm surge analysis, visit ASWM’s Sea Level Rise page that I put together.  There are some really terrific storm surge and sea level rise tools!

I love visiting the Poets & Writers Magazine website. It’s turned me onto many useful Tools for Writers. Even though there is an excellent searchable database for literary agents, I wish there was a better match-making service online for pairing writers and agents, writers with publishers and even writers with editors. It’s like online dating for writers without the romance or personal stuff, unless that is, your genre-of-choice is a bodice-ripping memoir. I belong to an online writers forum called She Writes, which has some fantastic resources for women writers. But it still lacks this kind of match-making system that I’m talking about. The challenge I often face is that my writing is usually a cross-hybrid, e.g. natural history-memoir, or humor/parody/sci-fi/creative nonfiction. It makes it difficult to check off 1 box on a searchable database and find an agent, publisher or editor who works with such mixes of genres. Same goes for the Writer’s Market reference guide, another favorite resource.

An online writing profile might offer these things:

Name: Leah S.
Years Actively Writing: 30+ (started with a tape-recorder when I was 5)
First publication: Short piece in Wiscasset newspaper, circa 1983 (on wanting to be a journalist)
Genre(s): (List predominant genres as well as those tossing around in the back of the dryer) Creative nonfiction, poetry, environmental science & nature writing, technical, children’s fiction, short fiction, novelette, screenwriting, blogging

Describe writing: My fiction is a hot mess with a chip on her shoulder and a fascination with the absurd, e.g. surfers and the sharks who become them; sexual predators devoured by invasive fish. Creative nonfiction is my practical side. Keepin’ it real. Poetry–Mainiacal. Yes, spelled with two Is and a capital M. That means “from Maine” and “of or related to mania, or a maniac.” 

My writing has been compared to: Kerouac, Millay.
No Regrets: Don’t mention Muppets.
Current obsession: hybrid genres
Editors say: Leashless energy, arresting imagery – essentially stop-go-stop-go traffic patterns
Biggest Hurdles: Dysfunctional computer and printer; oppressively red walls in writing room
Favorite writers: Shirley Jackson, Terry Tempest Williams*, Annie Dillard and other chain-smokers
(Note: *Williams is not a chain-smoker to my knowledge)

My workout today:

After a couple of hours spent stacking wood, I had barely made a dent in the pile. My trusty pointer-dachshund hunted for chipmunks, which have been hiding in the woodpile for the past month. Stacking a cord of wood by myself is a labor of love. I say that because I love the warmth of a fire in my woodstove, which is very efficient–and brings my upstairs rooms to a toasty 80 degrees on a cold wintry night. Sophie-Bea and I took a lunch break and then got back to work on the pile. I’m stacking some of it inside my garage but most of it goes under the shed roof. An aggressive army of wasps had constructed a formidable paper nest with six levels–about the diameter of half a tennis racket but overall, slightly smaller than a football. I had to wait until a chilly night to move the nest to another location on my land, far away from the wood pile, after getting stung a few times.

Progress…

Yesterday we followed the sound of a loud buzz saw down to the pond. I figured someone was  cutting firewood only to find it was not a chainsaw but a remote control speed boat racing around like something out of “The Rescuers.” My first thought: “Evinrude,” the dragonfly that transported the mice, Bernard and Bianca, through the swamp; it’s also the brand of outboard motor on my grandfather’s boat at the lake. I could see the red toy speedboat zipping around the otherwise quiet pond. Its battery-operated motor emitted an annoying high pitch noise like a swarm of insects. I like dragonflies…but not mosquitoes.

On the causeway

Before I could visually match the buzz to the little boat, I was nervous about what I was walking into–locusts? Usually the pond is a scene of serenity, not fecundity. I walked with the dog, who looked bothered by the buzzing boat, and finally spotted a grown man standing on his dock, operating a remote-control device.  Not a kid. An adult. I walked down to the causeway that connects a tiny two-acre island to the mainland and sat down on the edge, where I had a clear view of the toy speedboat. It did laps. It circled around at warp speed. Fish jumped. I half expected to see a bass take it down–a comical reverse “Jaws” scene, or again, something out of “The Rescuers,” maybe an alligator.

When my brother and I were little, we had “The Rescuers” board game (1977). Players moved around the board, decorated like a swamp, and faced off the villains: two alligators, a hip-swiveling southern woman named Medusa, and her nerdy spectacled-sidekick Mr. Spooks. Tad and I turned over cards to see which villain crossed our path as we embarked on an imaginary adventure as two heroic mice. I LOVED this game. Of course, we had the books, the game, the record. Long before we had movies on VHS, we listened to stories on the record player.

The battery on the toy speedboat died suddenly, lurching the little boat to a stop in the middle of the pond. My dog watched with concern. A slow-moving paddleboat turned toward the direction of the now-sinking red remote-control boat. Its operator paddled over in a kayak and met up with the people on the paddleboat–and the three of them talked about their collections of toy speedboats, ideal rechargeable batteries and other dilemmas. I thought, “this is a thing?” I guess this is a thing.

Today the pond, serene as usual, smelled of crisp fall leaves. Orange, red and yellow leaves floated as if on a current, racing under the causeway bridge. Yesterday I watched dozens of little fish swimming and jumping–but today I saw none. Evinrude and the Rescue Aid Society must have been charging through the marshgrass somewhere. No sign of them today.

Living next a pond–even though I don’t have direct water access–feels rejuvenating. I really feel blessed getting to drink all of this in, metaphorically speaking.

The pond beyond my backyard

I am glad I don’t suffer bufonophobia, a fear of toads, because a gang of American toads (Bufo americanus)  live under my deck. They come out at night and sit, fat as golfballs, one of them the size of a baseball, in the moonlight. Their posturing reminds me of the T-birds and the Pink Ladies in “Grease” at the drive-in.

Careful not to step on them when I stand in the yard, I let my dog enjoy a few minutes of midnight sounds, smells and shadows, with caution. The toads barely budge if she sniffs their bumpy bodies. She doesn’t like toads, luckily. I’m nervous about taking a step, worried I might squish one, anticipating the inevitable movement—but a toad’s test of wills (or staying power) beats mine every time. 

My imagination takes me back to Wind in the Willows, Toad and Frog, and the Riverbottom Nightmare Gang.  The child in me imagines Toad and Frog riding around in their small motorcar. The ecologist in me wants to set up candid cameras under the deck and film the toads’ daytime activities.  This is their breeding time (March-July), when they emerge from their burrows to eat at night and mate. It is more likely that the underside of my short deck is dull by day and hoppin’ at night. I’ve been kneeling down beside my deck and nervously extending my arms beneath the deck, which is less than a foot height-wise, and very dark, trying to take snapshots with my camera.  No success.  Along patches of my seep, nicknamed “Fern Gully,” I’ve observed toadlets, baby toads, crawling along the muddy wooded floor. They are small, about an inch long in body, not counting legs. What’s amazing to me is that toad eggs can hatch in a matter of days (3-13 days) and the toadlets grow to adulthood in about a month. I’ve become so obsessed with the toads beneath my deck that I’ve felt compelled to write a little poem, a work in progress, below is an excerpt.

Echoed in the cricket sound effect
Chirp of your message on my cell
Toads crawl out from under the deck
Hypnotize females fat as golf balls.
Music producers of Nature’s studio,
they mix melodic tunes, as you do;
stuck close to a crew of black tadpoles
when younger, then tripled in mass,
that dark-throated hunger
and explosive mating instinct
unique to the plight of your kind.

Just got the full poem accepted into an international lit mag and so I’ve taken down the poem in full here.

-LCS

See my Guest Post: It’s Dating Season for Toads on the Familiar Wilderness’ series, In Your Backyard here.

Leah

Poet. Artist. Ecoheroine. Human ecologist. Spiritual mermaid and Mystic. I write about literary ecology, wetlands, water, Romantic ecology, and quirky adventures with my dog.

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