Steve Tomasko doesn’t fish as much, walk in the woods enough, or write as often as he should. At some point, Steve’s background in biology collided (hybridized?) with his long-time love of words, which is why nature and science often inhabit his poems. His first chapbook, “and no spiders were harmed” was published by Red Bird Chapbooks in 2015 and won first place in the WFOP Chapbook Contest in 2016. Find out more about Steve’s poetry (along with his wife, Jeanie’s poetry) at jeanietomasko.com. While there, you can also check out Bent Paddle Publishing and Design.
“and no spiders were harmed,” Red Bird Chapbooks, 2015. Buy from the publisher (http://www.redbirdchapbooks.com/) or contact Steve through his email.
You said I should write more love poems and
I said, I’m sorry, but I’ve been thinking about
sloths. Well, actually, the moths that live
on sloths. Nestle into their fur, take the slow,
slow ride through the rain forest. Once a week
the sloth descends to the forest floor. Defecates.
Female moths leap off; lay their eggs on the fresh
feces; jump back on. Their caterpillars nourish
themselves on the fetid feast, metamorphose
into moths, fly up into the canopy to find
their own sloths. They prefer the three-toed
over the two-toed. Who can figure attraction?
The algae-covered sloth fur is the only home
the sloth moths know. The only place they live.
I know it’s a Darwinian thing but fidelity
comes to mind. Commitment. Patience.
The world writes love poems all the time.
Published in The Fiddlehead
Also in “and no spiders were harmed”
On the Occasion of a Day like any Other
Squabbling, gray geese melt out of gray sky, drop
into a field—acres of yellow stubble and snow:
small damaged soldiers parading in rows,
disappearing over a small rise. I’ve seen this before,
or something like it. Does it matter where
or when? I want to say I can still be surprised.
Surprised by the way snow changes from feathers
to stinging pellets of ice and back again in a minute’s time.
I can still be surprised by my heart’s everyday beat, my
lungs’ insouciant rise and fall. I don’t want to say
there’s magic in the ordinary or that the ordinary isn’t.
But what else can I say on a day the world twists
toward the sun for the twenty-thousandth time
in my life and the snow makes the most sensuous
sound, shatters against the bonebrittle
oak leaves still clutching their birdless branches.
From "and no spiders were harmed"
One of My Favorite Words
Would you be angry
if I called you crepuscular?
Such an earthy word—my deer,
my little mosquito—
so furtive and muscular.
Most active in the middling
between times, the dreamy
light of dawn and dusk
is what it means, my darling
nighthawk, my sweet platypus.
To parse it further,
my one and only bunny,
I can name creatures active
in the evening—vespertine.
A hush of a word, don’t you agree,
my firefly? My little brown bat?
Then there are those who
prefer the morning hours.
Let’s call them matinal,
my fuzzy wuzzy bumblebee,
from Mātūta, Roman goddess
of the dawn. Early risers, they—
but even earlier to bed.
It doesn’t come up easy
in conversation, so
I hope you’ll excuse me,
my short-eared owl,
if I say you are the most,
you are the twilight icing
on my crepuscular cake.
Published in Corvus