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Before the evening tide has turned
I go down to the dark, ripe mudflats.

Squeaking panic, hoards of baby frogs
Spring up where I walk.

Just so, memories leap into the chill
Autumn air, and disappear:

the rank creek behind my childhood house,
new frogs swarming up its banks into our garden in spring;
rounding them up all morning, my sister and I,
to populate sand-box cities:
Frog Mayor, Frog Merchant, the Kind Policeman;
our always new grief after nap-time,
finding the sunburnt bodies where we left them,
all four limbs stretched out like ballerinas;
the beautiful funerals.
Because no flies quicken in this dank season,
Because night will chill their pulses to zero,
And all these delicate scrambling creatures,
Born out of time, will die, I falter,
Turning in circles, away from the sun, away
From the city, wringing my hands.

Frog Woman
shakes her head, takes me by the shoulders,
holds me until I see her eyes for the first time
merge into one eye, the pond of birth and dissolution.
There the dreaming tadpole that dies untransformed.
There the fecund muck, bitter elixir. Frog Woman
draws me in, folds my limbs into my breast.
All body and tail I see nothing with the two beads
of bright blood my eyes have become.
Somewhere inside me the will to change
Is hatching. Whatever time I am born in, the time
Will be right. Soon, oh soon, the dawn breaks when
Love will emerge, singing in the dangerous light.
Then I am back in my body, alone in the dusk,
Cold in the wind the sea whistles up.

This poem appeared in the HAIGHT-ASHBURY JOURNAL.

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