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Envy clings to toads
and salamanders;
it's in the name—
at ease alike
in muck and freckled,
amber suspension.

It conjures dead Greeks
poking ponds with sticks
and sighing
Shouldn't a poet
be like a frog?
At home in two worlds?

What's the Greek word
for the other thing?
The creature
for whom every song
is a siren's—
a prelude to drowning
or gasping in the sand?

That's what I'll put
in the text next time:
Declined, with regret;
I have not been refined
by adaptation.

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