Scaphopus couchii

Couch's spadefoot toad

Sharon Wahl



Called out by thunder,

They bleat like sheep to find each other.


In pools that might not last a week,

The female lays three thousand eggs


That hatch and hurry, phase to phase:

Tadpoles in twelve hours, new frogs in nine days.


They eat as much as possible and get round.

One meal can last a year, underground.


Spadefoot toads then disappear

For almost an entire year.


Their holes fill in with dust and pebbles,

Stones and cobwebs, holes of ghosts.


And just like ghosts, the spadefoots

Have a secret: They’re frogs!


Spadefoots are impossible –

And they live in our back yard.




Sharon Wahl is currently finishing her first two books: A Critique of Passionate Reason (a novel) and I Also Dated Zarathustra (short stories).