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The Orange Salamanders

I remember tripping over a stone
Near the mountain bungalow
And found two bright salamanders
Not moving, fast asleep.

I took them by the tail and they awoke
Twisting like a screw between my fingers,
I put them in my thermos, closed it tight,
And brought them home.

Dad supplied a shoe box with a screen
(Cut out from the patio door
That I ran through like a bulldozer
Giving myself a scab on my nose.)

I filled the cage with soil and rocks,
Wheaties, raisons and marshmallows.
Occasionally startling them
With a toothpick, and setting them down
For trips on my forearm,
My face as large as the moon,
Watching up close for hours
Feeling their tiny toes tickle me,
While dreaming of the dinosaurs.
I slept with them under my bed.

When I awoke they were quite dead.
I think I felt remorse as my mother
Took their brown stiff bodies
And flushed them down the toilet.

All this went through me like a flash
Recently stumbling over a stone
As I saw two bright orange forms
Raise their heads at the sunlight.

I wanted to say I’m sorry
To your brother amphibians
I treated them like souvenir toys.
But it’s been well over sixty years,
I was just an inquisitive boy...

So let me take you home with me.
I’ll feed you ticks, and mites, and fleas.

Editing stage: 


the title immediately grabbed my attention. i love that the poet saw the salamanders as a boy and as an older man. all of the care that had developed in him since he was young. "twisting like a screw between my fingers." nice! "my face as large as the moon". i like that. especially since you can imagine the moon watching us, the same way the poet is watching the salamanders. a lot of cool stuff in this poem.

it's a good memory and things like this have happened to each one of us occasionally when we were young, it's an enticing work i love it.

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

A nice story and very well done. The attention to detail and personal experience give it an endearing warmth. the language is such that it reads quite smoothly; it does come over as crafted.

I like it.


The most powerful reaction
of mind on mind
is transference of sight

I thought this boyhood tail well told. And after all you were just a boy. I do have one suggestion

I slept with them under my bed,

Did you sleep under the bed with them or you meant they slept under the bed on their own? It could be read either way and on a first read my thoughts were it felt awkward. It maybe just me. If you dont agree just ignore me. A comma would fix it in my humble opinion.

Really liked this one, the title is fabulous.

Regards Jayne.x

("Always and Forever") - (Never lose a holy curiosity.-Albert Einstein)

about being under the bed..although it felt idiomatic,I see that one can get distracted by that point. I'll consider how to tweak.
Much thanks for a careful read and your comments!

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

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