Last Semester

We had a frog fatality last semester
swollen, turned pink in the flanks,
it defiled the paving slabs,
and the office staff walked round it
complaining of the flytracked cadaver
so adjacent to desk and chilled water dispenser.
I tossed the carcass into a rosebed to rot.

Then a toad was found dead giving birth,
bigger, browner, broader,
with a blob of  babyjelly
rending its body too widely.
It had slumped its functional last
half in, half out of the pond slime,
bumping the toad mortality statistic
exciting the monitors
and threatening an uncertain sense of control
in central admin.

Next, around Easter, a drowned hedgehog
in the shallows, duckweed
garlanding its spines like
it was Christmas.
We biology freshmen and women
pictured it getting into trouble at dusk
struggling all night so near
the help it needed,
wishing haplessly
it had been born an amphibian,
then green-matted and cold by early dawn.

The children held a funeral in Sunday best
while the seniors’ databases whirred up again
the profit and loss was solemnly adjusted
the science of it all applied and assessed
and the junior staff in smooth skirts and snappy suits
gossiped of lifestyle alterations
demographic considerations
and extra-curricular vitae
with the allumni.





















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