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For Joeinne 

at the frog hotel
small amphibians climb about

wandering wondering
swift green river?
warm gray rocks?
they have tadpole memory
of warm safe water, close to the shore
they grow larger
       (hopefully fat)
named and unnamed
hundreds of small frogs escaping
small garter snakes, red striped and gray like basalt and jasper,
scattered on the shore.

it took almost a year
for you to let me into your kitchen,
almost a year,
       and arguments — washcloths or sponges
        
finally: you
let me clean your dishes
let me bring a salad, a bottle of wine
or fried yams rolled in rice
a side of warm bread.

I slice garlic for your tomato and
chickpea salad. I watch as you fry grilled cheese sandwiches
for your silent brother.

an odd bluing bruise on your son's ankle
the other son a wild child,
hopping like a frog
down the sandy banks of the river named after a love of god's divine mystery.

I wait on the sandy shore
shifting in the ravages
of a storm-swelled winter river.

the waiting becomes a warming sun
and your hands beckon —

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Nikola Hobbel

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