Where’s Mama Noodle wailed
As she sloshed and stomped
knee-deep, splashing and hollering
up and down the crick in the woods
behind the house
stirring up thunderheads of silt.
Mama powdered the windshield when
Noodle lifted the lid off the box
to peep inside. But surely that couldn’t
be her, that fistful of grit, that
tiny pile of kitty litter..
No, Mama’s a crawfish
waving its solitary claw
before scooting backwards to hide
beneath a rock.
Mama’s a wild turkey
standing on the bank, staring
just like on the label on the bottle
beside the couch in the garage.
Mama’s a baby copperhead
sliding through the dry leaves
without a single crackle.
Mama’s a water strider
drifting and darting, drifting and darting
across the calm, glassy pools.
Mama’s a sackful of minnows
scattered like gravel, transparent
polliwogs, a peppery dusting
of gnats and glittering midges.
Mama’s a buzzard perched
on the roof of the house
with its ragged cloak spread wide,
sitting there motionless
Mama’s that painted turtle
snaking its neck as it basks on a stone,
warming its shell in the sole patch of sunlight
that has burnt a path to earth
between the branches.
Where’s Mama, whispered Noodle,
and the breeze whispered back
its single word
rhyming with the trickle of the water.