American Beaver · Kendall Lake

American Fable: A Truth as Told by American Beaver

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by Katie Daley

Even though we circle the days
slick & nocturnal
and survey the underworld
with eyes closed
we inhabit ponderable Earth
alongside you
It’s true, we’ve been endowed with
paddle-shaped tails
to slap like gunshots on river skin
webbed hind feet for superb swimming
& endlessly growing incisors
to fell Earth’s trees & devise our shelters
But because our excellent pelts
keep their shapes & colors in the rain
we once appeared to colonists
as excellent hats
Our deaths became
for a time
all the rage
Despite our clever underwater entrances
& keen teeth
we brinked extinction
as did, in our wake, our neighbors:
trout, Ottawa, wetlands
the whole before
unperturbed
swath of Turtle Island
But like clouds, fashion doesn’t tarry
only shapeshifts onward:
beaver to worm, pelt to silk
So listen
Now, beneath the scud
this swirl on river skin may speak
to you, may suggest
we burrow further than ever
into the deep, may warn
we still chew, slap, swill
& dream away our predators:
otter, cougar, mad hatters, humans
this story most of all

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American BeaverKatie Daley

Painted TurtleRebekah Ainsworth

Green DarnerMarion Boyer

Eastern Screech-OwlDr. R. Ray Gehani

Spring PeeperBarbara Sabol

Eastern Carpenter BeeSylvia Clark

Jacob's LadderRisha Nicole

Candleflame LichenClara Britton

Eastern NewtElizabeth Ryan

American BullfrogLaura Grace Weldon

American ChestnutCarrie George

American GoldfinchMarybeth Cieplinski

American HornbeamJeff Gundy

Artist’s BracketSusann Moeller

Banded Fishing SpiderCharlie Malone

BluegillOlivia Farina

Common Star-of-BethlehemBrita Alaburda

Common StonefliesKaren Schubert

Eastern ChipmunkNathan Kemp

Firefly BeetleJacquie Peoples Dukes

Gray CatbirdTheresa Brightman

Great MulleinLaurie Kincer

Green HeronPaula J. Lambert

HepaticaAmanda Schuster

Interrupted FernKathleen Cerveny

Jack-in-the-PulpitMichael Buebe

Meadow VoleRoberta Jupin

Monarch ButterflyDeborah Fleming

MuskratCatherine Wing

Pearl CrescentMonica Kaiser

Poison HemlockJon Conley

Star JelliesCameron Gorman

Sugar MapleSteve Brightman

Turkey VultureLaura Grace Weldon

White-footed MouseMichelle Bissell

White-tailed DeerBenjamin Rhodes

Wild CarrotJessica Jones

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Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.