Toads


By Jesse Burns

My brother starts the lawn mower,
pulls it behind shuffling feet, warns

whole cities to flee. The toads chose
this day, after rain, to return from dried


mud and vibrate the yard. For days, the cats
have sensed this coming, watched crouched

for hours from the deck. Inch by inch,
all day, he peers down, stops to save

the dawdlers. The sun scorches his arms
but still he lifts and delivers them by handfuls.

The stalks resume ripple and hum. The cats forget
desire, forget craving, forget the hunt, and sleep.


When she isn't writing poems, Jesse is the Communications Director of a nonpartisan, political nonprofit. Her poems have appeared in Mead: The Magazine of Literature & LibationsThis Broken Shore, and Naugatuck River Review. Jesse earned an MFA in Poetry at Drew University and lives in Asbury Park, NJ.