Toad Festival

Night falls
the air is stagnant and sticky
with white gardenia,
stephanotis and pungent citronella.
A fountain sprays
into a koi pond
and echoes across the valley.
At the appointed hour
a silent bufo army advances,
each to their own predetermined spot.
Out on a lonely stretch of road
beneath the glow of a street lamp,
hungry eyes examine the night sky,
patient beneath the bug lights by the well,
or in the hollow of a palm tree,
each compelled to perform
their part in the nightly ritual.
Sometimes in witless surrender
squashed beneath an automobile tire.
as thousands of wings
float aimlessly
down all around them,
relieved of their former frames.
While listening overhead to the snap and sizzle,
of a multitude of tiny bodies
being roasted to perfection.
Their tongues salivating
as their dinner drops
and is swallowed whole.
The Formosan swarm
is timely on their
kamikaze mission,
blindly buzzing
their dinner dates
in reckless abandon.
A wretched few
manage to escape
wingless and continue to crawl
until they drop, into stagnant watery graves,
behind downspouts
and into crevices between rocks,
occasionally crushed
beneath the feet
of an uninvited passerby,
rushing inside to escape the carnage,
the rank and lusty
slurping and spewing
of the horde.

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