Monday, April 13, 2009

Dragonflies and Tadpoles

Poem and Collage by Sue Miller

Except where otherwise noted, these works
are licensed under
Tadpoles (May 7, 2008) by Pingu1963 / Marjon Kruik
Caught (August 11, 2007) by D'Arcy Norman
Dragonfly (July 15, 2008) by Krikit

a young teen
exploring my neighborhood
other side of the dam
east end of Madrid Street

during summer monsoons
muddy pools
rainwater sat for days
stench from heat, humidity,
sun-baked growths
water life co-habitating
screaming frogs, blue
and red-wing dragonflies,
sun-drenched butterflies,
ugly tadpoles, biting mosquitos,
curious birds

I thought nothing of it
hopped on my bicycle
carried jars and butterfly nets
peddled to the dam
to the stinky pond

pretended to be a biologist
spent hours catching, scooping,
observing tadpoles and dragonflies
sometimes alone, sometimes
with brother Bill and his friends

Hills and Heavens

Once I sat on smooth boulders by a waterfall –
Watched a bat dive-bomb to catch
gnats and flies, fearing rabies if the bat bit me.
Stared at a pencil-thick water snake wiggle
in a small pool of runoff. Gazed at a lizard
and skink as they dashed across rocks, disappeared
into sage brush, buried themselves in sand.

Another time I fell into a large bed of big black ants,
sprained my left ankle. The sound of ripping tendons.
Piercing pain, hot flushes, white flashes, cold sweat.
Nearly passed out. Could not get up. In the midst
of stickers and weeds, ants and a bee,
my ankle swelled to twice its size.

When I camped at Faywood Hot Springs –
it took forever to set up a green tent in the dark.
Tried making sandwiches but one fell on nasty dirt.
Sat naked in the hot spring. Watched a million stars until...
one coyote started, then another, and another, and another,
until I heard frightful yaps of hysterical laughter
ricochet off the hills in surround sound.
That night I could not sleep, felt a slithering snake
slide under the tent at the small curvature of my back.
Scared, wondered why I take chances for my thrills.
I am holding the hills and heavens in my heart.