Making Hay on the Snowline

Sloe-black tadpoles
chassé the shallows
of this glacial lake
worrying their rumps
reaping a harvest from
ice-smooth rocks
with busy mouths.

How long in this short
summer to bloat bodies
and turn tail to frog?
How long to frog-bask
soft skinned on baked stone
flip to scissor silk again
choosing life’s temperature?

And when the crush of snow
deadens the plateau
turning silk to steel

what price survival?

Patricia Leighton