Some mornings come so thick with sleep
we cannot find the stubble on our faces.
That first step into a working day
is a bunching of nerves and breath,
a little like how I felt
on driving the woodheap axe
into my first cane toad.
His kind have inspired an unspoken pact
so that even the mildest mannered of us
will swerve blindly across wet highways
or fish our fathers' golf clubs
from the backs of cupboards.
Frogs, we deem, are lovable –
the smaller and greener,
the more deserving of embrace.
These are not the loaded treats
that knock out frothing dogs
or tip birds from the air.
But there is more to this than an axe's swing
and the fresh wet gape of amphibia.
Each day we fluster about toast
or fuel or the likelihood of dying.
There are teeth marks in the butter
rust spots on our fathers' clubs
bullet holes in the Church of the Nativity.
And what of the somnolent toad?
It makes no move, neither to defend itself
nor to escape. Yet month by month
it is still the one doing the invading.