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Dog Days/The Puddle

Maura High


The heat, the heavy
air make for a quiet
season. Mushrooms
unfurl their pale,
thick flutes
at the base of an old maple,
each one cupping
a scant measure
of rain water.
Along the creek bed,
the diminished stream
slides over rocks
and gathers into pools.
Water striders dimple
the placid surface,
and twitch,
and from those centers spread
ring after ring,
reaching to the bank,
dislodging a particle
or two of clay—so small
a thing, yet by such
increments life
changes and the earth
slides toward the equinox.


In a rut in the dirt road:
a vernal pool. A few small,

almost transparent water striders

twitch the surface, and below them,
tadpoles wriggle and float

in the limpid water,

hundreds of them—all
straining cell by cell to be

among the living,

the fat, full-throated racket
and splurge of spring

up and down the creek.

Maura High was born in the Rhondda and schooled in Monmouth and Bristol. After a teaching stint in Nigeria, she moved to the United States, where she has worked as a teacher and editor, raised two daughters, began to study and practice Zen, and for years worked with controlled burn crews of the North Carolina chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

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