I have written poetry and short fiction all my life and published a lot of it. My day job is editor of a trade publication Illinois Racing News. I live on a small horse farm in northern Illinois with my husband and various animals. My latest book, "Ribcage," (from Glass Lyre Press) recently won the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. I also am an associate editor of FutureCycle Press and Kentucky Review.
A Labor of Moles
Spading the garden you turn him up
From his labor of darkness.
Pink fireworks nose
Eyes jabbed in with pins,
Claws specific for digging
Through the underworld the way a dreamer swims
Down into brilliant grottoes
His breath trailing him.
You set him gently
In a staved bushel
For the children to observe. One touches
The dark fur glossy
And romantic as Schubert.
The creature buries
Himself in a web of light
The way a dreamer wakens
Pillowed with confusions of time and place.
He tries to erase the world with burrowing.
Elaborate chambers result
From unquelled hungers. Six violins
Weave a thread of music
Into a complex of darkness
Where the mole strives
Compelled by his deepest sense.
This is the note
The dreamer tries to recall,
Black jewel on the staff
Whose utmost range is beyond
The ear’s pasture. The mole’s
Deficient eyes can’t aid him here,
Scooped up, displayed. He quivers
An exposed nerve in a velvet mask.
We let him go to earth
The way the dreamer lets the dream
All but vanish.
The Patience of Frogs
Not enough has been said about the patience of frogs.
Their bulge-eyed heads jut
From under rocks, from beneath logs, keeping
A perfect stillness, knowing every way
Already they have learned
Transubstantiation; sucking life
From water and from air. Breathing
With gill, lung, skin
Art which refutes specialization.
Time is the flash of an insect wing
Triggering the long
Sticky tongue. Time
Is digestion, the humming
Of dragonflies all afternoon.
Frogs squat like ignorant monarchs
Who believe in the magic
Power of a kiss. Oblivious.
Kingdom beyond our hearts.
Trying our patience
With their stupefying patience.
©2016 Joan Colby
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