Feeling Loss

Feeling Loss

It might feel cold

Like the open ocean
Where cold rays
Cast their semen and eggs
Into vast seas
And do no pause to dwell
On species
Or the fate of genes

Or any other clutch
Of dry, reptilian lust
Chemical attractants
And the scrape of scale
Need coiled around instinct
Cold fusion
Where there is no heat

Or it might feel empty

Absence of weight and form
A floating motion
Without memory of soaring
Brief puff of spore
All conceivable futures
Into a mote of dust

Arms closing around air
In blank embrace
Filled with empty memory
A boundless sigh
As the ghost of passion
Slips away
Upon the changing tide

Photos taken at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center



The embryo flexes
Twirling in its clotted pearl
Of egg, clouds of spawn
Spattered across the bog

The pollywog nursery lined
With moss and leaves
Mud and silt, secluded pools
For the immature throng

Of grazers, minnow sleek
In mottled skin with bristle
Gills neatly tucked away
The whole world is water

Mouths full and ears full
As bones push into buds
Sprouting these legs
In an awkward unbecoming

The road to exile, maturity
Is always a breaking
Of surface, an intersection
Of amnion, water, and air

No ribs, no muscles
For the breath, only gulp
And inefficient heart
Subject to chill, blood

Flecked and flickering
Supplemented by supple
Skin, a tenuous tension
Of absorption and loss

The sustained refrain, air
Vibrating in humid heat
All their hungry songs afloat
Thrilling through their empty throats

These photos were taken January 1, 2004 at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, which was hosting a traveling exhibit called “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors”.