by Emma DePanise
Goliath Frog Whistles to Their Lover
My yellow underbelly bristles, the warm
water trickles—I’ll do the dishes every
night, I promise. My elongated second toe
can almost reach you. I didn’t kiss
that dragonfly. This July night sky
sticky and wild as my tongue. I hear
other kinds of frogs have the right
kinds of voices, the right instrument
to turn air into something bright.
But I could carry you to a bed full
of flaked wings, soft
stones and I could wrap my arms
around you. I know I can’t
sing but my webbing is humming
for you, my jeweled eye humming.
When the moon drops its silver
fruit each night, I open my mouth
and imagine the shade of your skin
skimming mine. I open my mouth and let
the moonlight in and when it leaves
it tunes a glow to the waterhush, a slow
glow that only speaks your name.
Goliath Frog Canoes with my Teenage Mother
On the Severn River, the muck
is warm, the low-tides low, she barely
gets the canoe out—has to scoot and shuffle
us into a small stream surrounded by mud
and cattails. Little green leaves. Her hair
is going blond in the sun, all the days spent
sailing, too shy to raise her hand
in school. Here, on the river, she raises both
hands into the air, wooden paddle across
her lap. Following the skyline of a blue
heron, her golden shoulders flex every time
she paddles. The body can move
so much, the body can move rivers. She is
always pushing against, pushing
against the current, still
won’t dance when I’m looking.
Goliath Frog Tells Me My Mind Is a River Full of Stones
Stones shaped like houses and your grandmother
and swamps and the river is always making things
soft in its furied current, it doesn’t even know
it’s doing it—the river just pushes and swirls, makes
and remakes, carries stones to new places, lets stones mingle
with other stones on cerebral shores. The stones are deep
in the river and they shimmer in a cold moon, full
of potential energy, full of shower-phrases, of midnight
utterances, slow syllables mouthed at dusk
to curtains, the stones are swooning in currents
or the stones are rearranged on riverbanks
holding the waters we’re born in.
Emma DePanise’s poems are forthcoming or have appeared in River Styx, The Minnesota Review, Reed Magazine, The National Poetry Review, and Passages North. She is the 2020 winner of the Blue Earth Review Summer Contest in Poetry, a 2019 winner of an AWP Intro Journals Award and the 2018 winner of the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry.
WART (Christian McCulloch) is a prolific short-story writer with a background in Fine Art. He’s been a teacher in the British West Indies, Singapore, and Japan. He now lives and creates in London. His work has appeared in Assure Press, Eris & Eros, Sand Hills, William & Mary Review, and elsewhere.