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John Repp

John Repp grew up along the Blackwater Branch of the Maurice River in southern New Jersey. His latest book is The Soul of Rock & Roll: Poems Acoustic, Electric & Remixed, 1980-2020.

Prose Ode: Peepers Among the Swamp Willows

Kathy & I stand arm-in-arm swaying a little on the porch as the evening deepens,
the acrid aroma of the warming creekside plopping me for a few seconds in the muck
along the Blackwater, but across this road runs the Big Conneautee, a meandering
brook as home as back home but for Kathy a first home since the leisurely current
carries water from French Creek, a river (mostly) that’s everywhere around here as for
me Kathy is & always has been. In a book I didn’t know we had, she’s found that
chorus frogs make the peeper-shrill that thrills us near to swooning (in the nineteenth-
century sense) each oncoming night of the new spring. How gratifying to think all this
music! We can’t help but call what our thousands of tree frogs do “singing” nor to cling
to “our” for we are the ones whose eyes are wet, whose ears have learned to distinguish
among the tones & micro-tones of the overwhelming chorus, whose minds empty
sometimes simultaneously, whose tongues hover between our slackened jaws till it’s time
to go inside & luxuriate in more of what our senses bring us.
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