by Olivia Farina
I do not know how to swim but
that comes so naturally to you.
You move in ways I can only dream about
because you were built to dance in the water.
Even when you are frightened,
far away from your hidden water fortress,
you flit away from whoever seeks to harm you,
curved into a C,
I caught you once and
threw you back and
that is when I learned of your dance.
I couldn’t stand to see myself hold
something so cosmically full of life.
You run like a machine:
Every muscle underneath scales and gills
is a work of art that keeps you alive.
Though your body is structured for movement and navigation,
you are still stuck.
When I see you in my dreams you are free and wild,
but in an instant you are taking oil into your terminal mouth,
drowning on sewage,
held trapped in plastic.
I try to remember you dancing
and not hooked at the end of a line.
American BeaverKatie Daley
American BullfrogLaura Grace Weldon
American ChestnutCarrie George
American GoldfinchMarybeth Cieplinski
American Giant MillipedeMary Quade
American HornbeamJeff Gundy
American White WaterlilyGeoffry Polk
Artist’s BracketSusann Moeller
Banded Fishing SpiderCharlie Malone
Common Star-of-BethlehemBrita Alaburda
Common StonefliesKaren Schubert
Eastern ChipmunkNathan Kemp
Eastern Tent Caterpillar MothZachary Thomas
Eastern Red-backed SalamanderTovli Simiryan
Firefly BeetleJacquie Peoples Dukes
Gray CatbirdTheresa Brightman
Great MulleinLaurie Kincer
Green HeronPaula J. Lambert
Interrupted FernKathleen Cerveny
Meadow VoleRoberta Jupin
Monarch ButterflyDeborah Fleming
Pearl CrescentMonica Kaiser
Poison HemlockJon Conley
Red-Headed Ground BeetleBob King
Star JelliesCameron Gorman
Sugar MapleSteve Brightman
Turkey VultureLaura Grace Weldon
White-footed MouseMichelle Bissell
White-tailed DeerBenjamin Rhodes
Wild CarrotJessica Jones
Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.