Fellow Creatures

With Elizabeth Bishop.

selective focus photography of a brown and black frog

When you were the giant toad, your eyes hurt to see so much and still be hungry, and it was strange to feel your colors shudder while carrying those heavy sacs of poison, mostly unused.

As a crab you seemed at home in your tough, tight shell. You preferred approaching objects sideways.

As a snail, you were intimate with the great effort of the tiniest movement. You knew the shining ribbon of your wake, and yet complained I am too big. I can feel it.

Some say you were most at home when you were fully estranged, singing a hymn to the seal you befriended because of a shared belief.

In what? someone asked you, and you were quick to respond, in total immersion.


Inspired by Helen Vendler’s scholarship on the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

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