Friday, January 10, 2014

The Wind in the Willows

The Lack Calf edges toward
the Salt Lick
in the marsh by the bend in the river
The Half-wolf pads across
the cracked tile of the tiger cage
Dragging its bad leg
to where the Wet Lump 
sags in a puddle of itself bejeweled, sawdust scrubbed, 
basted with the musk of rot, 
t-shirt in a crusty wad wedged beneath 
one stiff paw.
Claw picks at the rusty bolt. 
The buried harp string 
of a snare, wet snap 
of a sprung trap.
Sugar cubes and honey smears.
A birdseed bell with a tablet
of Alka Seltzer for a clapper.
Puddles of rancid molasses.
Incisors wrapped in wrinkled gold foil
strung from the barbed wire.
Shag carpet in Muskrat’s den,
bones neatly stacked in the corner.
A traffic cone, a cardboard box.
Yellow crud clogs the pond,
clinging to the stalks of the reeds.
The Lack Calf laps at the film. Mole’s eye
submerged, kissed by puckering tadpoles.
Nostrils bubble, legs thrash.
Tongue a black eel curled before
the sudden thrust, throat a thrush’s nest 
choked with shards of eggshells. 
Toad squashed beneath its hoof.
The parlor of Badger’s lair lined
with tigerstripe wallpaper; 
on the kitchen table, a pan 
filled with wriggling fry
trapped in the cold grease
resting upon a waterlogged storybook,
illustrations crackling and spotted with mildew,
waiting for the river to once again
flood its banks.

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