All I can think of
are the frogs –– the ones I cupped
between my small palms
at the creek’s edge. Years later

The same palms cupped
my father’s face, his frame limp
like a jacket hung
on a hook, except of course
he was a person

It was then I first walked through
his woods and among
the things hidden inside:

found where the black elk crumpled, its
tracks punched into mud
the fallen branch and divot beside

saw how the monarchs obscured
the sky, two thousand wings pressed
into a dark cloud

stood over the trout and listened
for pulsing gills
beneath the abundance of air.

My father brought me to the creek, but
never to his woods.
I knew nothing of them

And now can hear only the croaking frogs,
who ask for answers all through the night