Laughter text

Laughter Text

by Joel Chace


Google-eyed and glued to the spot,

in July’s steamy heat he stands

by the stream edging

his grandfather’s hayfields.

His older cousin holds the willow branch

he’s sharpened to a spear. And there,

only its own eyes showing

above the water’s surface –

the frog. The cousin halff-turns,

as if to say, “Let’s go now,”

but then, with swift and noiseless violence,

spins back and strikes down with all

his little boy’s might. A one in a million

shot: the frog skewered fast to the creek-bed.

Not that they can any longer see

the animal itself. Only the astounding

rainbow oilslick of blood

spreads, rippling, staining the water

like some new element, some crazy, greasy

peacock feather paint – a gay camouflage.

Like some new element. Or like

the oldest one of all, gurgling up

from its depths, as their litle boys’ laughter

spills helplessly from them.

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