Kurt Luchs


Half-brown, half-green, half-grown and half-alive now, he must have
found his way, or lost his way, into the apartment garage,
a smooth pond of concrete into which he could not dive.
There are a few things to eat here if he could overpower them,
but nothing to drink or bathe in, and this miniscule creature
was made to live where the water meets the land,
halfway between us and the fishes.
(Maybe he’s a she. How would I know?)
It can’t have been more than an hour or two since his deadly mistake, 
and already he’s dusty, slow and shriveling,
unable to evade my hand. In most parts of the globe
the humans would consider him a delicacy.
Here he is simply a fellow traveler in need of help.
I cradle him in my palm and tip him gently
into the car’s drink cozy. At the bottom of the winding drive
I stop, step to the curb, and pour him into the dewy grass,
there being no other moisture nearby, and him so close to gone.
I don’t stay to watch the result, preferring to hope for the best
for this profligate, persistent, perversely persevering thing called life.

Kurt Luchs (kurtluchs.com) has poems published or forthcoming in Plume Poetry Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, and The Bitter Oleander. He won the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest, and has written humor for the New Yorker, the Onion and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. His books include a humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny), and a poetry chapbook, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other. His first full-length poetry collection, Falling in the Direction of Up, is forthcoming from Sagging Meniscus Press.