As dawn sloughs the dew off the unkempt lawn
And starlings snarl in unison at unfolding day
Toads push their padded blunt toes into the early light
And freeze our feet to the floor where we stand.
With the quick even pulse
Of sea-smashing starboard engines
The regularity of their breathing shakes their bellies in jest.
They climb the waste pipes to the roof,
Enter gleefully through vents and holes, and
Snake their tongues round the hairs
Beneath men’s pajama legs, licking into the folds
Of women’s buttocks, buttering the toast
With their saliva, and flee
With the last yawning and full waking to gritty morning.
On the chime of the clock they squat and rest
Or hop lazily over the kitchen tiles
Or urinate on the fizzing carpet
Or idly preen each other’s warts.
When the sun voids its phlegm and activates corpses
Toads return to window-wells
And vanish down darkened holes
With muddy plops, to watch the toadmen
Circumspectly through bulbous sleepy eyes
As they move about above
And beat their dogs with sharpened sticks.
June 11, 1972
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