Friendly with Toads by Martha Strom
Can I sell you an apple?
Give you a love potion?
No? What is it, then, that you want from me?
I can’t do charts. I leave that to my older sister,
Kristina of Cincinnati. When she taught me all I know,
She omitted Astrology. Surely you will accept this drink;
I admit it has some kick in it. The good witch of Williamsburg?
I am the ambiguous Aunt of Outer Space.
You say I am a witch? Which—good or bad? Neither.
Let me live in holy confusion. I admit I am me.
Or is it I am I? I can’t read minds either. Or conjure.
It’s no use. I am an unskilled laborer.
You are not you, however. That is, you are not the you
You are to me. I have met you, I see you,
But you do not see you. You are divided into inner
And outer. You hide. (One thing I can do is see souls.)
You don’t see that you are not the voice that fakes you out,
Inside your head. You are instead that soft feeling
I get when you dream. You are a dreamer. Dream more dreams.
That soft feeling comes from you to me
And it makes me who I am. Because I feel, I am.
You do it to me. You are a wizard…
They say all wizards are celibate.
But oh boy can they dream feelings up.
So when I contemplate my identity I do not ask who am I?
First I must ask who are you?
For if I can know you I can live in confusion
About who I am forever. You are my feelings
Maker. With you, I forget about good or bad.
You are my wizard. Me and my teddy bear.
Has no eyes, has no hair. Me and my teddy bear
Just play and play all day.
Martha (“Marty”) Strom lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Her poems and artwork have appeared in Straylight Literary Arts Magazine print issue as well as New Letters, Passager, Common Ground Review, and other journals. She has done quite a bit of teaching at universities as well as teaching adults in New York City.