The Blue Spotted Salamander by JoAnn Balingit


Does not flinch as my boot rolls the pine limb over

The night is wet with icy stars sprinkled down its ribs

Not one muscle would I move if God rolled my roof open

I’d lie curled, an unborn word awake inside his skull


Contributor Notes

JoAnn Balingit is the author of Your Heart and How It Works (Spire Press, 2009). 

She grew up in Lakeland, Florida and attended Florida State University on scholarship. She holds graduate degrees from UC Irvine, IU Bloomington, and the University of Delaware. In 2008, she was appointed poet laureate of Delaware, and teaches in schools and community organizations across the state.

As a child she spent hours in the woods, citrus groves and lakes around her central Florida home. She walks in the woods to “see” language. She wrote “The Blue Spotted Salamander” camping on the Sassafras River last January near Grove Point, Maryland.

Her poems appear in journals and in anthologies such as DIAGRAM.2 and Best New Poets 2007.  Her most recent work appears in the summer and fall 2009 issues of The Pedestal Magazine, Harpur Palate, Philadelphia Stories, and Delaware Poetry Review. She is a 2009 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation creative fellow, selected for a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. For more go to