Bog in the Blood
Dark rumblings from the black pond
threatened my adolescence
sending sinister, inscrutable messages
from some bog in the blood.

Frogs were my preferred childhood
companions, soggy toys slipping
from my hands
like bars of lathered soap, 
protruding eyes gyrating 
like mounted guns on muddy tanks.
Unpredictable as smoldering firecrackers, 
they randomly detonated into the air,
transforming into tiny helicopters.
In place of whirling blades,
their finny appendages were splayed 
like the four points of a biological compass.
But this old one was not my friend 
and spoke a language
I felt driven to silence. 
I heaved a rock to end his assault,
reducing the body to a primordial mass
laid out on a blanket of warty skin,
only one webbed toe still identifiable
at the end of a limp leg.
In the next day’s light
already starting to dissolve meaning,
I hunched over the open body
like a prophet reading hot entrails. 
I never played with my green friends 
again, but I hear them, at night, 
croaking themselves hoarse, 
and, as always,
the old one thunders from the depths
chanting in rhythm
with my own thudding heart.

© 2003 Toni La Ree Bennett

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