The Frogs

He loved frogs, so he spent his afternoons
wading in the tall grass, or standing in the leafy water
where the stream turned. Charmed by their stories
of woods and muck, he practiced singing with them
at dusk at the edge of that pond, while his mother and father
sat talking, with their cocktails, on the porch. As dark fell
his parents called him, most evenings, for dinner,
but sometimes they let him stay down there until the frogs
were hushed by the cicadas, whose conversations
startled him back to himself. Then he walked
up to the house, through the tall grass, through the dark,
still singing in his own language. Don’t think of him now,
drinking in a city bar, talking to strangers
who ignore him. Don’t think of him walking out into
the empty street, slightly drunk. He’ll be fine.
Think instead of that walk through the dark wet grass,
the sound of a child’s body moving through the grass;
think instead of those frogs falling silent, of that forest,
of mushrooms that push up overnight like elbows
in the moon-drenched mind of the woods.

Michael Hettich has a new book of poems, Like Happiness, forthcoming from Anhinga Press. He teaches at Miami Dade College.