Seven blind toads sit on the street, teetering over the drain pipe they stay. The mouth of the gutter is menacing and concave, grabbing at their webbed slimy toes. One hundred and twenty six toes, tap against the ground like it’s a piano to be played—tiptiptaptip.
Seven blind toads sit on the street; they fit into one neat row. They were about to go marching, single file, left, left-right, one, two, three-four, seven blind toads about to go marching. But seven blind toads changed their seven kinds of minds and still they sit at the drain pipe all aligned.
Seven blind toads decide to have a tea party and lounge sumptuously around a makeshift table repurposed from the rubber sole of an old man’s tennis shoe, all the while they will discuss niceties like weather and what horses to bet on when it comes time to visit the tracks, but seven blind toads can’t decide on a single tea to drink; they sit in their group still trying to agree.
Seven blind toads propose renting a boat and going fishing for the day. They’ve mustered enough savings to spend on whims such as these and they wait for the rains to come and bring the worms so as to catch and use as bait. Seven blind toads get crotchety and impatient, making claims of eating the worms they find on the spot instead of saving them for bait. Seven blind toads sit up extra tall, each hoping to be the one to feel the first drop.
Seven blind toads argue that it must be Sunday by the temperature of the day: “We must go and hear the new sermon,” they say. But before they can even slide into their best Sunday clothes, seven blind toads are tempted just like Eve; they don’t go to church, and instead listen to Sunday Football echoing from neighbor rat’s TV who resides deep down in the gutters below.
Seven blind toads need to have their oil changed but seven blind toads forgot to carry their licenses with them today.
Seven blind toads proclaim that the world is ending sooner than we all know—that life will be over by nightfall. Four nights and three days pass and the toads are still proclaiming their same prediction. Seven blind toads though are blind, and do not so easily tell between night and day anymore. Seven blind toads keep erect, never sleeping nor slouching, because for them, night hasn’t come yet.
Seven blind toads remember a dream they all shared about catching butterflies in nets. Seven blind toads discard this as a dream though because they like their flies better, and without the butter.
Seven blind toads all become quite tired of talking and so they sit in silence. Seven blind toads become tired of sitting, and seven blind toads become tired of silence. Seven blind toads—still silent but no longer sitting—all disperse at the same time, all feeling quite sly that their absence will not be noticed by any of the other six blind toads—six blind toads who also dispersed quite quietly, all at the same time. ✷
Katie Walker is recently graduated from CSU Sacramento with a degree in English Literature and now resides in Martinez, California, pursuing an MFA in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. This is her third publication.