Bufo punctatus

Red-spotted toad

Steven Salmoni



Landscape, with Red Spotted Toad




You are in the landscape, both for and against the sign of your thoughts.


A middle-ground for saving, and limbs, guarding their resource within, or despite,

            their instruments of scene,


a ground begins, again as it opens. There is only measure in imitation;


the sky will be in play, some enlargement in the sun,

            the prospect


of a desert, in the theory of its image,


            water’s redress of winds, balsam and penumbral eye.






                        begun as black


in bronze flecks on the venter, then black with faint mottle,


                        casino blue,

                                        visibly cadmium, the forms in point


as outliers, in unguarded commune, to pierce the autumn

            in lustrous key, some sense almost skin, undisguised as “eyes akin” to eyes


renumbering the water,


            all the things in scene,


given to things that reserve the scene, given these labors


to strain the likely conscience in all things, the voice that says “enter,” says those

            that enter,


the outgoing world that plays its element,


                                                                 the scene,

a scene, shown before its figure





A toad confounds the limb, curling these projections. The animal its physiognomy

addresses means to mask itself. One can distinguish a coarse body and seven tangible

lines of salt.


Not deciding, what both you and your brief thought would endure. Either limbs, or limbs

with decision. Who better to place that single cue in the system?


Atoms to atoms is how dreams can give evidence of evidence, given the same to art as

this perspective. It is impossible to find you, and so with this we begin; to break like

glass, uno ictu. Measure, in imitation.


Or let the clouds be as they began but could not see how they were opening. You knew

what was zenith, brought in the turning of the field,


A few hours, a breeding chorus,

rain-filled tinajas, as these things were named.


When stars are to be cloudless, please, I will use the eye of all the parts that named us,

compared us many times; it is, and our limbs will travel.


“I want the spring whose invariability is suspect and whose expression is changeless.”


What I’ve said allows me to borrow more than I can prove. Unknown stars, algol stars,

or stars which you should have.





The air was an old song, a one-time example, with regard to light, made to favor.


If I’m here, you can bring me to impinge on flat sand. Allowed the fall, then went on,

            but a glass silvered and divided,


steps retraced and up again, a creekbed in Yavapai, amplexal rain


            or rain, then triggered, a temporary pool spanning


temporary pond, intermittent stream

            the vision’s locale, wherein the toad lunges




                        according to what you know,


angle-eyed, in sunken pile

            the emblem of the pool, under all these touches.





We should sustain a front of “this shadow was born,” to light your paradox. I know why


            you want to go as the synthesis of light. Or rather, I should say, you are to enter

without being drawn. “This is their luminary. They ask themselves, a desert, punctuated,




            their fortune was square, fortune of the square.” To play at the not-in-habit, to

prove that part of “this is,”


only moving objects, apparent but motion perceived, what the toads refuse.





The divide is always that sublime expression, measured skyward, a uniform measure of



my home mountain, in particular, means the length of limb as much as length itself,


a presence, in truth, but above all let us endeavor; there is an ongoing; anything has

            the same effect of isolation,


in ones that are massed and open on the other side. And certainty does not refer


to movement, which has more in common with land in fragment, having in it the plan

            of the finest detail,


a description unconscious, but not of the word in which it is. Exist, but first let’s try,


and in the absence of another, this is a little strange, a plane one cannot touch,


            a few toads, at these intervals,

                        and the toads themselves, as an example.


The forms, that is, do not count at all. Their story is

            a clear separation of the parts, the new as plural, although here


it merely happens that they fall into the two sides of the picture.


“Taking neither of them,” the order is not specified, just to see how it ends, and

            perhaps again to know,


so long as you are conscious that the land you’ve passed is absolute.





Steven Salmoni is the author of the chapbook Landscapes, With Green Mangoes (Chax Press). Other recent publications include poems in Versal, Upstairs at Duroc, Sonora Review and Bombay Gin and an essay in the forthcoming Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein. He is Department Chair of Writing & Humanities at Pima Community College, Northwest Campus in Tucson, AZ and serves on the Board of Directors for “POG,” a Tucson poetry and arts organization.