George, stoic on a lily pad,

never budged, seldom blinked

We cousins couldn’t gig 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

gimping around the pond,

most of a rear leg chewed off,

splashing, jack-legging in circles

away from the shore

to escape Aunt Mamie’s

cast iron frying pan

where many a frog before him

thrashed in a splattering of lard


Gone after the first freeze,

we guessed he belched

a final croak somewhere

in the reeds where he usually hid

Even so we rooted for him

to leap for us one more time,

three legs akimbo,

left a small bowl of dried flies

from the turtle tank near the pond

in case he might have just

been joshing us


From George we learned

admiration for underfrogs

and people on the down and out

missing one thing or another