Bio Note: I am a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center who grew up within walking distance of the Bronx Zoo. After being married three times, I can state unequivocally that the third time is not a charm. My latest book is the text-based art collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams.
Mysterious Waters of the Naked and Nervous
She begins her life along with nine-thousand seven hundred fourteen siblings in the shallowest part of the pond, just four days after being laid as a jelly egg attached to a fern leaf bent over humid water. On day seven she sallies to neighboring weeds using a very circular route quietly clings to a weed, watches with terror as brothers and sisters are attacked by sharp-beaked birds swooping down to chew helpless tadpoles, devouring membranes that cover their gills and necks. One of few tadpoles to survive to day ten, officially becomes a tiny pitch-black pollywog with continuously wiggling tail and small round mouth of horny jaws that scrape across tiny plants, searching for something to eat. She greedily swallows microscopic animals found inside pond bottom ooze and slime which clings to pond’s surface. Devouring a particularly tasty ooze meal, she is horrified to witness tadpole brothers and sisters eating each other, siblings extending their bellies by swallowing extended family. Mostly tail with fine stippling of gold, within twenty-four hours she breathes from two gills at each side of her throat as hind legs suddenly sprout rounded buds that soon turn into toes amazing her how fast she can propel away from murderous dive-bombing birds of color. She first demonstrates courage by a successful attack of a black fish that menaces her for hours., sucking on its fish fins until they are ragged, not in anger or self-defense more for tasty algae trapped within them. But it does feel good to be able to destroy instead of being destroyed.
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