Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


It Doesn't Take Much

On my front door stone, a dead frog.
It’s stretched out long,
its slender legs a mottled green,
its belly cream white,
a blossom of blood on the stone.

How did it get here? Why did it die?

It doesn’t take much to make me see
how little I know
about the simplest things.

I’ll tell you stories, of course—
that it was possibly a fisher cat,
or more likely
was dropped, accidentally by an owl
or a startled hawk,
or a heron.

Or is the dead frog an ambassador
sent from the wetland world?

I lift it gingerly, the frog still
limber, no rigor mortis,
not yet,
and I put it aside, in a paper bag,
to take out later for burial—
I have a dog with a keen nose.

But when I come for it, the paper bag
is rustling, is jumping—
alive!
             And so I carry the frog
far down to the pond’s edge
and settle it into the shade of the cattails.

When death arrives on your door stone,
you think about it.

When death turns out to be life, injured life,
you’re glad.
                     And turn back to your own.

Credit


Copyright © Margaret Gibson. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Margaret Gibson

Margaret Gibson is the author of several collections of poetry, including The Vigil: A Poem in Four Voices (LSU Press, 1993), a finalist for the National Book Award. Gibson was named the poet laureate of Connecticut in 2019.

Date Published: 2021-01-26

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/it-doesnt-take-much