by Jared Pearce
How could it have happened,
toad, you dead and left a perfect
skeleton on the campus walk?
How could the hungry birds
or hustling student feed have passed
your crunchy morsel, mistaken
For a scrunched cupcake wrapper?
And how could I have found you,
complete, except your eyes,
The skinny leather of your hide
tanning itself on your brittle frame,
a frame perfect inside its sack
sucked dry, a series of sticks that shift
our gears upon the planet, a bundle
like a lodge, a lever that lets us roll the Earth.
That’s all the machinery we’ve got:
what good is a scrambled-egg brain
or spider-nest nerves against
The arm’s hatchet or quarterstaff
swung of the hip. You were right,
toad, we’re built for valor
And making grace before
our long rest where we hand it back
in its dustcloth, worn and happy.
Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.