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By Joseph O. Legaspi

Amphibians live in both.

Immigrants leave their land,
hardening in the sea.

Out of water.

In Greek, amphibian means
“on both sides of life.”

Terra and aqua.  Shoreline.
In fresh water:

amphibians lay
shell-less eggs;
immigrants give birth
to Americans.

Tadpoles, polliwogs
metamorphose: gills
in early stages.  On land,

amphibians develop lungs.
Immigrants develop lungs.

Through damp skin
amphibians oxygenate.

Immigrants toil
and sleep breathlessly.

Skin forms glands. 
Eyes form eyelids.

Amphibians seek land; immigrants, other lands.

Their colors brighten, camouflage.

They’ve been known to fall
out of the sky.

Fully at home in the rain.

Added: Thursday, October 16, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Photo by: Emmy Catedral.
Joseph O. Legaspi
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Joseph O. Legaspi is the author of the poetry collections Threshold (2017) and Imago (2007), both from CavanKerry Press; and three chapbooks: Postcards (Ghost Bird Press, 2018), Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts, 2014), and Subways (Thrush Press, 2013). His works have appeared in POETRY, New England Review, World Literature Today, Best of the Net, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. He cofounded Kundiman, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. Visit the Kundiman website. He resides with his husband in Queens, NY.

Other poems by this author