Voices on the Wind Voices from Teen Years
the rich trail by Mark Vogel No textbook evidence details how winter once ruled, and no exposed history with fonts and table of contents, lies before us brothers. Just thick air saturated with rich swamp rot, and the smell of the river a mile away. Nothing to explain how April’s jellied frog eggs are now ragged, with birthing come and gone. Before us brothers this jungled pond shimmers, with a thousand fat tadpoles crowding the shore, awkward cows without legs. But we have no time to gawk, for we are explorers shuffling with arms wide to balance—already waist-high in murky water, and going deeper, feeling with hidden feet for the bottom core. The algae painting the lime-green surface clings to us moving stilted trees feeling the half-grown salamanders brushing close with tiny legs and miraculous feathery gills. The unseen beneath is all, as the mud squirms. Then, from the edges magic erupts: first one, then another wide-eyed bull frog croaks that we are accepted in this wild because we have ventured all the way into amphibian soup, where the smell won’t soon wash away. Doing together what we wouldn’t do alone— we tiptoe, letting toes feel the purpose, sure-feeling the soft center, knowing we are charged as teens to enter the deep without knowing rules—and accept this unlabeled new bubbling from below.