Bio Note: I live with my high school sweetheart in the house we built under redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Sometimes pumas pad by our hot tub, though never as we’re soaking.
Crab or Gull
In the swash zone a desperate crab somehow overturned, belly-up. Dome-backed, helpless, she twitches feet and claws grasping only air as seagulls gather, smacking lips. Shall I intervene? Who do I favor, crab or gull? Frankly I have problems with both personalities. Can’t ignore a creature in distress. (Who programmed that?) Wiggle my toes into damp sand beneath the beast. Flip. With nary an acknowledgement, crab scuttles sideways to a spot in the wave wash where in a flutter of little legs she half-buries herself, eyeballs above. Seagulls scream curses. What did I expect, a thank you?
Little frogs are hopping
from the pond to the weeds, hopping in the headlight beams across wet asphalt through strings of drizzle, hopping where my car can only squash them so I stop. You take my hand. “Thank you,” you say. You like frogs. There is another route, an extra mile. I back up, turn around. “More cars will come,” I say. Again you take my hand. “That’s on them,” you say. We do what we can do. And maybe, just maybe, we spared a prince.
©2020 Joe Cottonwood
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