Two Suspensions

Straight up noon, I watch a toad
—dusty, huge—cross a blacktop road
by hops and halts; landing each
time like a splattered
egg, he regathers, heavily pauses
in the baking sun, and heaves
aloft again, again until he makes
the road’s shoulder, come
to rest finally under some
dusty asparagus leaves.
Next—and from nowhere,
from right out of the air—
quick as thought
drops a damselfly,
the wings that keep
her motionless an icy blur
of motion . . . Each at each appeared
to peer: he maybe held
by the sun-enameled
emerald stickpin of her
spare torso; she,
by a stolidity
so extreme it looks
accomplished, a dumb but deep-
rooted contentment. Perhaps,
of course, this choice encounter
wasn’t one and their gazes
never met; yet they seemed to,
at least for a few
suspensive seconds that were—
were, obscurely, reminiscent of
a web I’d found just above
my head that same summer, which,
metaphor for memory
turned selfless, by a trick
of the light had altogether
vanished, yielding to the eye
but what incidence had blown there:
some seeds, needles, threadbare
leaves, a curled gray feather—
were, surely, irresistible grist
for the fabulist,
who might well conclude
that each, true to the instant’s
instance, as it urged the
resolution of mind and mass,
had felt the other’s opposed
appeals, and however much
could pass between two such
contrary creatures indeed did pass.
—Brad Leithauser