Friday 10 August 2012

Eva Gerlach - cycle of toad poems




Toad beside my shoes, pissing, milk from his ears,
blood on him, heart in his throat. I
scoop you up, soil and all. Save your skin. Don’t start

those tricks of yours, bloating, swelling, who
dies like that? No next world, I want you
now, swap then. Be me, let me run dry

in your hand! Your turn. Look after the wifey the carport
keep the cat in till I’m at the pond and don’t
kid yourself. I’ll save my skin. Send you the bill.


Toad gets up, dances. Woken volcanoes his warts.  
Swaying from foot to foot he lives
more loosely from the hips than the expected

Toad, predictable from
study, who loosens his skin and eats or curls his
flap-tongue round the fly. So

does Toad sprout into the world, move                 
up the road, flatten the cars, so. Dances the water
water, reed reed, grants Her his small trill,

grabs Her, spouts on Her strands. (God his


Between scenes is what he is.
Then too. Right now too. Turns up hurriedly from
under his pot, scuttles off hurriedly:
who notices. Call him a stay-at-home
because you keep on glancing at him and
from then to then see little difference:

What mustard he can cut remains the question.
Now look, image of what he does. Does not. Frame:
glide into it, his golden ball aloft,
‘bear me to your father’s table,’ out
like that, a wavering, 1 foot that’s lifted
and put down. Mark the question

(did kissing take place while you wrote?): thus forge
Toad. A question of counting.
More or less. Just a little.


Shrieks towards the end. Toad Ripthroat. Tears
himself in half, air split so far apart
that with a thunderclap your heart stands still

while his long shriek dies down and all once more just
rumbles as if nil. No feather fallen,
no hair harmed for he possesses none.

Now all the stories must be polished up,
the dresscoat freed from mothballs, instruments
of soul and spirit tuned, tables laid out,
a ring dance must begin without delay,

great Toad is dead, come on let’s dish him up.


Beside all lies all. Beside Toad
lies flattened Toad, beside waffle wafer,

here too at his thin-skulled body that I serve
with the fly in my eye and the fly in my throat, I

will take him like this. His cleft eye his storm cheek
choke-bag shrivel-belly. After all it’s

me (whoever) that disposes of him,
sinks nails in his exploded improper flesh.

Soldier return to the mud, creep into my blood.
Don’t let go easily. Don’t

hurry to be delivered.

For a revised parallel text version, go to here. 

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