Narcissus as a Frog

(Originally appeared in Mid-American Review)

All I’m saying is it makes hermaphrodites of frogs. —Dr. Tyrone B. Hayes of the University of California quoted in “Weed Killer Deforms Frogs In Sex Organs, Study Finds” (The New York Times, April 16, 2002)

Sometimes, when it rains,
I am two animals with one skin.
It’s not Nemesis, but atrazine

that’s damned me to this puddle.
As the slow croaking moans
of others cursed half in, half out

the water, their own sexes,
pulse to me across geographies
of grass blades and pavement,

I know I am no more alone than the moon
who always faces the earth:
It’s as if our voices are enough

to cross the distances
so we become the ones we love.
When the throaty call comes back

singing of small rain trickling
down the backs of fallen oak leaves
to the loam below and the rows

of ants that always find us in the end,
I know it is my own, and I
love it, love it, love it, love it.


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