Caught within the tangle of scratching, leafless forsythias at the road’s edge — that pale, packed strip of gravel, bending, bow-like and away left and right. Beyond the road’s farther edge, where the intrusion of gravel gives way to tumbled brown earth; beyond the earth’s gradual slope and the slim, young trees arranged haphazardly over that gentle declination — a ribbon of glittering blue, a deep lake of still water, its surface stirred by breeze. They have already crossed, slipped through the trees, their hands tracing those slender trunks as they passed, headed for the water, out of sight.
Watching, caught within the forsythias’ whip-wand embrace. Bending forward, doubled over at the waist. Shaking head and hair — gently. The toads tumble earthward, dozens of small dull brown toads shaken gratefully free of entangling hair. Watching them hop and scatter in all directions.
— C. Birde, 10/18