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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 2, June 2015

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Jonathan Day & Joy McCall
Alpine, Oregon, USA & Norwich, Norfolk, UK


Tree Frogs

They sound like the same scattered individuals I've been hearing all through the fall, rather than the massed chorus of frogs we hear late at night in January and February. I was outside when I heard one above me, as though it was in one of the rain gutters at the edge of the roof, very near to me. I stood up carefully on the chair that I often sit in, out here on the porch. Stood there a long time, with the gutter just a few inches from my face, as still and silent as I could manage to be. But I heard no more.

And yesterday, I was out on the porch again, when I heard a frog, quite loud, sounding as though it were somewhere up on the trunk of one of the Ponderosas. Are these tree frogs, and do tree frogs actually ascend the trunks of trees? Or the down-spouts of houses, up to the rain gutters?

Tonight, out here again, feeling the cool moist air moving over my face, I can hear . . . the wind through the trees, and— oh, just a handful of frogs. Here. There. Some near . . . some not so near . . .

tiny green bodies
making their slow way
up the bark
ancient instinct
driving the climb

a primal urge
to move upwards
to the safety of leaves
far above the
predatory ground

long before
the dinosaurs
lay extinct
bones in the ground
the frogs were climbing

their small feet
gripping ridges, furrows
rough surfaces
heading for the treetops
the arboreal home

their low voices
murmuring above his head
the man stops
and looks up
listens, and smiles

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