Ed Brickell: The Horned Toads Confront Their Young Human Captors


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in Batesville, Arkansas and was duly moved to Palestine, Texas at the age of three so my dad could try his hand at coaching Texas high school football. He was pretty good at it and helped the Wildcats win the state 3A title. Meanwhile I was spending a lot of time walking railroad tracks with my friend Andy and throwing rocks at box cars, “reading” copies of Penthouse and Playboy hidden in a shack in the woods near the town cemetery, and catching tadpoles in the cemetery creek – in an honest-to-god Mason jar. The last of the non-electronic childhoods. It was all good while it lasted.

The Horned Toads Confront Their Young Human Captors

How dare you take the horrors of our life from us,
How dare you display us in this cardboard mockery
Where nothing struggles,
Where all is provided,
Where no enemies hide in ambush.
Look closely: blood shoots out of our eyes,
Touch us, and warts grow out of your hands.
We feed on dust and the rays of the sun,
We can move faster than your mighty brains
Can tell your hands to follow.
When you try to pry our secrets
We will become sharp stones.