FROGS by Ali Cobby Eckermann

Interspersed with twilights calm a baritone serenade is the male, the urgency of frog song seeking affection, stretched vocal chords to attract the mother, full-throated croaks to carry the seed, to nurture life, and careful listening, to know its name  

as water reflects a benevolent sky know every shade of me, deep, dark and doom. my skin is an artwork from an era before, the era of harmony when chirping song was the filament between earth and sky, before the taint of smog began  

we lay dormant waiting for rain, cold blooded in moist sand, hydrating through skin. we are amphibian, limbs tucked close to body, a pretence to sleep. beware the launch of a slumbering tongue, five times faster than the blink of an eye  

it takes weeks to grow legs, first back then front. do not feed me as before, I can absorb my tail for food. as it shrinks smaller and smaller into me I long for sand and shaded sun. I am born underwater to live on land.  

diving deeply into cool water for mercy, did you hear the splash? the threat of extinction is deep, and deeper I push my legs harder, breaststroke against the human world. the air gathers our chorus, to amplify our croaks  

frogs eggs float as a cluster of foam, the bitterness of egg jelly to deter the predator kind. this is a raft to paradise, a springboard from gills to lungs, from vegetarian to carnivore, an ability to jump twenty times further than you  

slow water ways are the staves, musical lines as nature conducts the symphony, as frog call and bird song combine, a tempo that builds with the setting sun. a bass clarinet turns nocturnal, the bellows of romance louder than stars  

only three percent of earth’s water is freshwater (biomes). monitor the flow and light, don’t ignore the climate right, an ecosystem of aquatic plants, a garden of insects to feed us. in the evaporation of wetlands water is essential to life.  

my sister died from a herbicide, surface soil run-off from your home to mine. keep the algal blooms to yourself! vision is limited in murky sediment. look! my brother lies rotting in a plastic bag. webbed hands in front of me form a dish to catch my tears  

a tree frogs call stretches and stretches, its knobby fingers grip the greenness, a naive verdure of flora and fauna that mirrors the heart of mankind. peer through the patter of raindrops, peer with an honest soul and stretch, stretch your love for us  

there is a backbeat to this frog song, a subtle trance that deepens the night, the experience of life caught in this symphony stirring deep memory within, the garden of harmony we shared before the boats came, and despite your din the molecules of sound echo to reveal our presence