Snake and Toad

By Laura Schulkind

Braided into the scrub brush,

I saw them,

snake and toad,

black garter slender as my beckoning finger,

except for its bulging jaw

stretched madly around half the toad,

head already gone,

belly the blue-white of fern tendrils still curled underground,

motionless except for the ripple of skin

stretched thin across its still-beating heart.


Laura Schulkind received her JD from New York University, where she focused on public service law, and she has been practicing for over twenty-five years. For the past fifteen years, she has specialized in representing public school and community college districts throughout California. She is the president of the statewide professional organization, the California Council of School Attorneys, and is a sought-after speaker throughout the state. She also has two grown sons who continue to challenge and inspire her.

She writes poetry and fiction because, lawyer that she is, she believes in the power of a well-told story. However, in law she is entrusted with others’ stories. It is through poetry and fiction that she is able to share her own paths and struggles. She has benefitted greatly from the Berkeley Writers Circle. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The MacGuffin. Forge, Minetta, Eclipse and Talking River.


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