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"Flying Toad"

James Walsh

Plastic bracelet signifies
unescorted minor. Fidgety
pre-teen assigned
to the seat beside me. Shuttled
twixt Dad's new life,
Mom and her boyfriend back home.
Up in the air.

I shake my head
how the world's changed. the kid
flips open his lap-top. Splats aliens, as a rap rift thumps
in his headphones. Shouts
at me like I can't hear.

And just when I'm pushed
at the edge of humanity's collapse,
the kid elbows me
to confess he's smuggled
contraband. A gift
for his best buddy in school.
(Wanna see?)

Digs in a hidden duffle.
Keeps a sharp eye
on the steward's back, turned. Extracts
a tattered shoebox, holes punched
top and sides.

It's a big one, he says.
Named Lumpy.

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Lowell Jaeger

Lowell Jaeger teaches creative writing at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. He is author of six collections of poems: War On War  (Utah State University Press, 1988), Hope Against Hope (Utah State University Press 1990), Suddenly Out of a Long Sleep (Arctos Press, 2009), WE (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2010), How Quickly What's Passing Goes Past (Grayson Books, 2013) and Driving the Back Road Home (Shabda Press, 2015). He is founding editor of Many Voices Press and recently edited New Poets of the American West, an anthology of poets from western states. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize, and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council. Most recently, Lowell was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting civil civic discourse.

"Flying Toad" was published in Poems Across The Big Sky: An Anthology of Montana Poets.

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