Thursday, June 4, 2015

Frog Funeral

In the greenhouse, I gave myself to somebody,
saying things I never thought I'd say,
despite the hardness of the wooden table and the potting soil in my hair.

I can't remember why I thought it was a good idea, though,
or why I thought that was the place to consummate our love,
or even who it was, because

the shovel was handy and knocked all that right out of my head.

Not long ago, a week maybe--time is fuzzy for me now--
we had tadpoles in the puddles the flood left behind.
As the water dried up, things got dicey, so I decided to try to save them.

Looking into my bucket, the yard man said, "You've only got sticks in there, Maggie."
He was right, and it was only the moss on one side of each of them
that made them seem green and in need of me.

I did manage to save one tadpole, though.

An apron pocket makes a fine frog house,
and though I walked around wet to the skin on that side,
I felt good about saving a life, a remarkable life besides.

I told Mr. John about my frog, and even though something
in the back of my head told me it was a mistake, I took it out,
just to show him. I screamed when he did what he did,

and we stood there for the longest time, both spitting mad.

Later, I took pansies from the side garden
and arranged them in a circle around the small hole I'd dug.
My skirt got muddy and something started coming back to me.

Some of the pansies were purple, others yellow;
looking at them put me in mind of my room, the mirror there,
my bed, and the door I always insisted be locked

against the arc of the sun, like a bucket swung too weakly, and too late.

for Susie's challenge at Real Toads.  


Anonymous said...

Well crap. That sucks. The tadpoles that ended up being sticks were pieces of her she thought she was holding onto. Only, by the time she thought to save any of herself, it was really too late. And the man she hoped would appreciate the bit of her she thought was still alive, well, he just killed it.

When she buried herself, something grew. Something pretty to remind her of all she could have been, had she not allowed herself and her "babies" to be completely snuffed out.

What an exquisite, opposite-of-uplifting poem, Shay. Thanks so much. ;)

hedgewitch said...

This one follows a dark road, one that winds through the swamps of the heart directly to the madwoman in the attic, strewing rose petals and small amphibians as it goes--too many good lines in this to repeat, but I especially like the subtle throwaway lines here, like' was only the moss on one side of each of them
that made them seem green and in need of me...' and the pansies the color of bruises--the whole ending is drop-dead good, full of everything that makes your writing exceptional.

Sioux said...

What a powerful poem. The first stanza is my favorite...

Gail said...

It may be dark but it was wonderfully crafted from beginning to end.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

An arresting story and accomplished poem.

Outlawyer said...

Agree with all the comments-this has such a smooth flow from the sort of funny to the tragic; the bucket of the sun very effective. k.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wowzers. You went deep. Exceptional is the right word for this piece.

Kerry O'Connor said...

The last four lines are sheer magic in this truly wonderful tale.

Gillena Cox said...

A look back or a forward view. That is debatable. The story is twisted with dissapointment and fuzzy darkness. The colours of flowers does nothing to liven just adds to the mournfulness of the poems mood
Well this is quite an interesting write

Much love...

brudberg said...

Somehow the colors of the pansies become a bruised soil.. the story layered and sad.. the fact that so many toads and frogs are killed each year...

Mama Zen said...

There is something delightful about a girl that sees an explosion of flower petals and follows them down into the dark. Or, maybe it's just me . . .

Joanna Jenkins said...

"An apron pocket makes a fine frog house..."
Didn't expect Mr. John! Whoa.
So good to be back reading your beautiful writing, Shay. Hope you are doing well.
xo jj

Susie Clevenger said...

Goodness, this is so powerful. I feel there is bits of me in this. My own dark childhood was always trying to save someone, something to quiet the demons in my head. "it was only the moss on one side of each of them that made them seem green and in need of me." What a line!
Thank you so much for taking part in the challenge!

kaykuala said...

In a jiffy a tadpole becomes a frog and in no time they die! One feels for them on the day they need a burial!


Sanaa Rizvi said...

A majestic piece..!

Margaret said...

The tenderness here overwhelms me as does the horror. Spell binding, this poem that stretches out in the mind - and wants to be fed more

De said...

There is something so real about this line:
"it was only the moss on one side of each of them
that made them seem green and in need of me."

I also love: "an apron pocket makes a fine frog house." (And the ominous truth, that we adults, of course, know it doesn't.)

Great piece.