Tadpoles flit across the pool
their gelatinous cloak long since thrown off.
Tail intact, new legs pumping,
bulbous and begging to be squeezed between finger and thumb.
But we don’t.
For poignant memories of spawn forgotten in jars, bodies crushed accidentally,
or left like seaweed bladders crusting on dry stones
has seasoned us with a kind of respect.
We balance, squat like laying hens, enraptured.
fingertips break water
a quick scoop with precise speed
hands cupped just right
learned from long summers poised on the edge for hours.
We hold that cupped pool of water
watching that tadpole jerking around in its new smaller world.
Reluctantly we set it free, carefully, before curiosity becomes cruelty.
That knowledge, instinctive and as natural as breathing,
lost now forever in the squall of clicking and browsing.
Síle Keane was born and raised in Galway, Ireland. She currently enjoys life in Wicklow with her husband and young son.