Pocket pet of witches,  reincarnated child souls, most toxic augers of weather
&  superstitions—your   midnight  croaking means  rain’s  on the  way while  a
draught  of  pollywogs’s  a  cure-all  for  cancer,  consumption &  or weakness.
You taste somewhere  between mermaid & chicken,  you don’t dole warts nor
grant wishes.  In the original fairy tale it’s the maiden  pummeling you against
the wall turning you back into a prince & not her sovereign kisses. Mistake, as
Homer did,  Bufo for you &  open the doors  of astral vision.  God Almighty’s
been  sweeping  you  into cloud,  hailing you  down  upon roofs &  roads since
Heraclides.  Because yours is the  first species to die out  when your  habitat is
contaminated  you  are  earth   gauger,  poison  in  the  water’s  measure.  How
seldom  nowadays  a floating fleet  of ships is,  too few are  tempests of  blood,
crosses,   snakes   &   fishes;   our  end   times   reveal   themselves   as   nuclear
cataclysm,  flood &  drought,  pandemic.  Once a week you pull off your  dead
skin &  eat it.  I get it.  Like some megaton  explosion I too’ve  wanted to shed
self,  all leg  &  bleating  throat  &  reslicken  primogenial.  What  did  I  know
peeling  you   apart   teasing  out   with  scalpel  your   three-chambered  heart
but denials sweet & tribulations vile?  That,  & if you had wings you wouldn’t
bump   your   salientian    ass   every   time   you    hopped   down    the   street

Copyright © 2023 by Flower Conroy. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 8, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.