Where Once the Salamanders

Where once the salamanders
Came to crawl and make their beds
Along the flowers beneath the windows perched
On cool summer nights
Soon to be plucked and carefully set upon
The dewy grass.

Now there are but biting beetles,
Buckthorn trees that shout loudly like used car salesmen when they see an easy mark,
Dried worms that failed to retreat to safety after the rain,
And the salamanders have all shriveled just the same;
The young ones do not remember this strange animal,
A fictional beast from Harry Potter
As far as their child minds are concerned.

The frogs are growing differently these days,
They do not ring out at night
Like a grand choir
Set to the tune of “Froggy Love”,
There is silence
And a different type of noise which drowns it out,
On all but the rare evenings when
Even the hot and sticky air cannot warm the cold that sweeps through.

There is
So much noise,
As the cars pass overhead
And the air vibrates
At such a sustained and violent frequency
That at times I must put my hand to my ear
To verify that it is not leaking.

They tell me that Como lake
Has a substantial populations of alligator snapping turtles,
That there can still be found
Giant armored reptiles
With faces like a sloth who was born in a war age;
I am pleased at this,
But saddened by the memory
Of so many swimming beneath the paddleboat as my siblings and I looked on in awe.

There is a movement in the pavement,
A hum
That permeates
All things,
“The beating of a heart perhaps”
My own tells me,
But my mind kills the moment with
“That it is just a movement of waste
Flowing beneath your feet…”

Isn’t it true
That the strongest survive,
That every organism finds its niche
Somewhere amongst the varying levels
Of micro and macro variation
In habitat
As well as immediate time and space.

There are still new species that form each day
And when we are dead and gone,
There will be more that rise from between
The cracks in the pavement,
Which will irreverently wander the abandoned churches and ruins of shopping malls,
Not even stopping for a moment to wonder
What created built these strange hollow trees,
And the odd, alien skeletal structures lining them;
They will only search for calories,
And when they have been exhausted
Will move on.

Time does not stand still;
Where once the salamanders
Came to crawl and make their beds
Some day
We too will be absent and forgotten just the same.

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