we are worn down by this. i’ve been
outside digging, pulling up tall stands
   of lemon balm,
deep-rooted salmonberry,
parsing painful conversations with abandoned,
musty, curled-leaf roses,
   for days now, turning soil that’s been
undisturbed for years,
and in the midst of it i startled
   a tree frog,
her dress the most daring bustle
of bright green, ever.

she waited
on the newly-cleared earth
a mutual staring that took
   all the time i had
and rolled it, back, and forth,
over her jutted hip joint
until it swelled and sang,
   and who was startled, then?  


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