By Sassy Ross

Weaned on the island’s artesian veins,
they mistake the moon for a gourd of milk,
flick their tongues but stick no stars,
no perforated bulbs to curb hunger.
Skin mutates to collagen,
cheeks are vocal sacs inflated with air.
Cries overwhelm the valley,
vibrate surrounding hills like organ pipes.
No mating rites but a nightly,
amphibian lament: toa, toa,
as they move among minnows and moss.
At the edge of a sawgrass swamp
frogchildren pulsate throats,
tune their pitch to resonant holes
in alligator oak, mahogany hollows:
calls the inundated earth
can neither diminish nor drown.


The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2009

Sassy Ross is the managing editor of Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters. Born in St Lucia, she lives in New York.