Swamp’s edge
& grandfather’s chrome
Ray-O-Vac shines ahead
in the humid dark. Deep rippling
of bullfrogs. Smell of duckweed
& water moss. He aims
his three-pronged spear. Hindus say

Shiva’s flesh is whitened
by the pale fragments
of human ashes. That his trident
commands earth, sea
& air. My grandfather feared
the god of the Baptists, never heard
of Shiva, but in the sweltry west

Tennessee night, with his pouch
of Red Man, pint of Jack
& heavy iron spear,
perhaps he felt the power
of destroyer & restorer, maybe
the indwelling. The silver
beam of his flashlight dances

with river shimmer, making his skin
ripple & glow like lightning bolts
in a raincloud. I think of his
left hand, calloused & firm,
steering the motor from behind
& when he reaches the marshy

edge of the frog-filled
water he becomes as exuberant
as a smiling God-drunk saint. He pierces
the bullfrog’s pale yellow belly & rules the world
for an hour or two in the carpet-thick
moss, not yet knowing 
of the hard years to come.