frog portrait in my chilldhood bedroom
his eyes were bright fearful coins.
dark green flesh. the bones of a frog
are feathery. a faint structure.
i loved the photograph. black frame.
bold against my forest-painted walls.
i was a frog-girl which meant
when i laid in the bathtub i dreamed
of tadpoll reverting,
to swirl like comma comma comma.
mouth flat & pursed. the picture
was a gift from mom's photographer friend.
it was like owning a moment.
the photographer had
plucked him from where he sat
between the damp brown leaves
& dipped him
in the chill of the october stream
to get him to hold still. a shock.
his symetical body, a little talismen.
cold blood slow in his veins. did he think about
his life cycles? pond clumps of eggs.
his first arm.
i was maybe eight or nine.
i sat in front of the picture
the way someone might sit
in front of a portrait of god.
i wished i'd taken it.
once, i lied to the neighbor girl
& told her i did. she said
"wow, you can see the threads
of his eyes." i wondered if there were
threads in my eyes too & then
if someone plucked me from my life
& dipped me in cold water
if i would pose still like that
for a picture. though, truly,
the portrait was of me. my four fingers.
my throat. my budding hunger
for insects & terror for
the coming cold months
where everything turns blue-grey.
my eyes, two impossible
gloss of the camera's light
across my skin.