when brackish mud puddles teem with tadpoles
I slog through thick morning air
to see if future frogs have sprouted leg nibs
overnight, like sperm they squirm as if their world might not dry up
in three days' time.
To feed the horses, I wear dork-shorts and sharp-heeled cowboy boots
and pray for invisibility
Levi's in the heat will kill me faster than the humiliation looming large when
a smart-ass boy from school pedaling madly on his beater Stingray
hits the road where the dirt starts and sings out "soo-wee, slop them hogs!"
What hogs? I think he likes me.
And yes, I wear spurs to ride the tall blond filly who will never replace
my old man horse with the Mt. Everest withers and a kind face who
ferries me to the barn while I lay on his back with closed eyes.
Now that is trust.
I've raked more manure than people might guess
unless they compare my sun-spotted hands with my far-north face
to get the back-story on why I rather shovel shit in a pasture than wade through it
in a conference room and listen to coyotes howling in the wash than to wolves
yipping behind big... desks.
a few fortunate tadpoles transform to toads who
spin throaty tales of misspent youth in great lakes
and sing lustily with high hopes and the optimism of fledglings
with seemingly less to lose.
The spade foot toad may give it another go in nine or ten tears
if he hears from his bunker the first drops of rain
connecting heaven and earth from the depths
of his dreams.
Carolyn G. Healy