Cow-Kisses, Confessions, Calamine

Doctor-Magistrate of Hygienic Truth
You, Sir, of latex fingers cool and clean, like God’s touch,
Find your fallen Magdalene, branded with a crimson rash,
Poison oak or sumac, a snack for a pastured cow-
Yet I will not repent, have no regrets,
Though your pen scrapes a page of “Remarks on the Patient,”
Your countenance as tautly solemn
As it was last Tuesday, when I cradled a toad to my cheek
Contracting dermatitis from his whorled gray skin;
How his pea-sized heart staccatoed, as if he were on interview,
And his face! Imagine a planet peopled with such as him….
Of course I let him go!

Doctor, do you recall the glorious newt I all too briefly knew?
A fire streak in the rock-bottom mud, a lean, wife look-
He could have been a twin to you! I merely stared, close-up
And amazed, while he squirmed in my hand, and no corollary
Can be proven, as you noted yourself,
Between that princely newt and the salmonella
That rendered me limp for a month or two….

Will I be branded outlaw, then, a groveller in the pew…
For what seemed the natural, even godly thing to do:
Kissing that cow’s naked pink muzzle
Grasping her bony huge
Head of rough wine-dappled velvet,
Peering into one truculent eye
Made French by its fanciful lashes,
Yes, and swooning, caressing that head
Of the hot leafy breath, the attendant fly or two-
Loving all of surly, swish-tailed Nature as I do…?