Black licorice breezes through the canyon,
while spur stickers embed my ankle socks
scratching ashen skin, I unroll them down

my foot, off toes soaked with stale creek water.
A twig in my hand, I hunt echoing
frogs, their croaks low, distant as my father

untangles fishing twine from the river
bed and re-baits each dull hook with small eggs—
gooey and pink, or slithering worms still

warm from earth’s soil. She calls to me from
behind the bushes, holding her swim suit
bottoms inside out and lets them fall to

the dirt. The ruddy mush in the fabric
was pulpy—like bananas from too much
air. She knew what it all meant, a rubric

I was not aware of yet, as she dunked
herself in the river, and rubbed the blood
clean, watching it float down stream till it sank

beneath the waving water. The anise
blew through the reeds while the frogs continued
to call, each croak further and further gone