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S E P T E M B E R   1 9 8 5

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By Linda Pastan

Hear Linda Pastan read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

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Also by Linda Pastan:
Deer (1996)
Crocuses (1989)
Prosody 101 (1983)

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No bigger than a thumb
and palest green,
a tree frog
has stowed away
on one of the plants
my husband brought inside
for winter,
and in the darkness
it fills the spaces
of this house
with disproportionate
song. The dogs bark,
fearing a creature
they cannot see,
and partly to quiet them
we search in vain
among the stems
and roots and leaves
for that balloon
of swollen sound --
either lovelorn,
or joyful, or hungry.
I'm never sure
I want the woods inside,
though circumscribed in pots
these plants seem safe enough --
contained explosions of green
at every frozen window.
Whatever my husband touches
grows. Tonight when he
touches me, black earth
still rings the moons
of all his nails.
I think it is a naked
infant's call
the tree frog's song
reminds me of.

Copyright 1985 by Linda Pastan. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Originally published in
The Atlantic Monthly, September 1985.

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