George, stoic on a lily pad,

never budged, seldom blinked.


We cousins never gigged him,

bored as he was with the flutter

of the red piece of rag

on the treble hook we bobbed

under his triple chin.


He survived that summer,

most of a rear leg chewed off,

gimping around the pond,

splashing, jacklegging in circles

away from the shore,


away from Aunt Mamie’s

cast iron frying pan

where many a frog before him

had thrashed its last

in the roiling lard.


Gone after the first freeze,

we guessed he’d belched

a final croak,

kicked a remaining member

in the reeds where he hid,


kicked as we rooted for him

to leap a lasting looper:

“Come on, George, you old toad.

Give ‘er another flicker,

another rounder for the bog.”