Bits of Bark, Eyes of Frogs

Bits of Bark, Eyes of Frogs 



Neighborhood witches burn leaves, squint into flames

 blazing wild, detect the name Grunhilda.

                        Yell out,  Never.


They gather bits of bark, eyes of frogs, pull names

from sleeves, dismiss ones that don't sing, kiss

                         the name Glenda.


 Crystal, seven, builds a go-cart out of bits and pieces,

   searches mom's junk for an engine, discovers

                         a golden scrunch.


  She spits to fasten  a silver star to Tubby

 the Bear, the chosen one to steer Crystal

                         and baby all  around


a cluster of eucalyptus trees. They'll zoom in circles 

 breathe in sweet mint   wave sticks

                        of giant leaves.


Crystal's mom injected estrogen to conceive  in Tel Aviv.

 Further tests confirmed infertility. Today, befuddled docs, say

                        "We never believed


... that this could"... mom sees the sonogram, relieved

 "No Dad's monkey brow,"   tosses kisses

                         to chubby cheeks.


Witches call out names: Vanilla, Sabrina, Agatha. Which

will be the baby's name? They cross their fingers, chant

                         into the wind.


Circle thrice, cast a spell for this baby. Mom smudges rooms

 with sage sticks, says, "I smell the name of the baby." A bird flies past...

                                    Good luck!


She hears bits of  good times never seemed so good... names the baby for her  aunt who died before her time,

                                  Sweet Caroline.


Mare Leonard

Mare Leonard lives in an old school house overlooking The Rondout Creek.  Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches  through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College. She has published four chapbooks of poetry and a new one, The Dark Inside the Hooded Coat will be published shortly at Finishing Line Press. 


  1. WOW! That's my comment on this awesome poem, Bits of Bark. So earthy! So lovely the way witch women gather and support each other at the coming birth of a child. This poem is a celebration of womanhood and the support that caring women give to each other. And the nature connections make the poem even more awesome!

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