It was the time when the salamanders
appeared underfoot, fresh from their primeval
lair, their nude red-brown forms lumbering
into the brush with a backward glance.

My young son saw the ground move,
dove to catch one – a prize in his palm.
He stared and stroked the gelatinous shape,
awaiting a message from dinosaur time
while hiking his first whine-less mile.

I miss that boy who stooped to inspect
every worm and lizard in his path.
Does he still pick them up, amazed
at his luck, barely daring to breathe?

He stumbles into the thicket of his twenties
without a backward glance.

© Susan Auerbach 2017

Moving Ground