Saturday, November 22, 2008
In my mother’s old copy of Andersonville, which she has never read and doesn’t remember buying, receiving, or bringing home, I found a bookmark that consists of a laminated eucalyptus leaf with a tiny yellowish-green frog perched near the stem. The frog is about a quarter-inch thick, with dark eyes slightly larger than the head of a pin. When I showed it to her, my mother didn’t remember the bookmark either.
The fact is, it might not be a bookmark at all. For one thing, the frog is too thick to allow the book to close properly. And when the leaf is adjusted to avoid the problem, a disproportionate amount of it is visible outside the book. It seems to me that the frog and the leaf would look much better in a terrarium, or perhaps in a decorative dish near the sink in a bathroom reserved for guests.
What would a frog be doing on a eucalyptus leaf anyway? I suppose if the tree the leaf had fallen from were near water, the leaf might be discovered by a frog and maybe even used for a time as a barge. Imagine a frog hauling rare insects in tiny cages down a narrow stream, and other frogs meeting him at landings along the way to purchase his exotic wares. Imagine muscular frogs working along the shore, laughing, singing, and calling out to one another as they drag the cages onto creaky platforms.
Like any frog,
at the end
of a hard day
I tie one on
at the nearest
I stay until
my wife croaks,
then I hop
I give her
Ribbit on, she says. Ribbit on.
Introduction and poem from Collected Poems, written and first published “about two and a half years ago.”
Image: Frogs (click to enlarge).
In the Forum: The Three Princes of Serendip.