Kent Marsh Frogs

Kate Noakes

Oat gold grass, swathes of rush in purple-brown,

the Oare marshes stretch to the horizon.

Mercurial tides leave a slice of silver water 

isolating us from the Isle of Sheppey.

Clouds are quickening and the late summer wind

seeds my eyes –  a second wave. 

Half-blind with redness, I almost miss 

the brackish pond with the largest of frogs

– dinner plates are not an exaggeration – 

and as for the ring-necked grass snakes

waiting in the surface weeds, I watch their vigil

through hayfever tears.

A snake lunges. And again. And? The frog 

breathes on through skin or mouth or lungs.

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