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Angela France: a poem

Suddenly, a frog

Not a leaf, nor a lighter piece of bark

from the tight-packed, plastic-wrapped bundle

I'd wrestled from the car into the garden,

tipping it end-over-end to thud on the ground

with each turn. An X sliced corner to corner

allowed the wet bark to spill, separate

into wedges, spread from a compact block

to a glistening heap.

The frog clambers up from the dark

chippings, piano-fingered hands spread to grip

bark as it shifts and slides, pauses on top

of the pile. I can see its throat pulsing, perfect

dots along sharp back-ridges, cleanly banded legs

in Halloween witch-stockings.

Suddenly, the taste of envy.

To slip into stasis, to lie still in darkness,

protected from unexpected upturning,

the resulting bumps and bruises. To not know

time passing and to emerge unsullied,

blinking at a new day, perfect.

Angela France is a Gloucestershire poet who has had poems published in many of the leading journals and has been anthologised a number of times. Her latest collection, The Hill, was developed into a live multi-media poetry show which Angela toured, funded by Arts Council England. Her next collection, Terminarchy, is due out from Nine Arches in Summer 2021. Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in various community settings. She runs a reading series in Cheltenham called "Buzzwords".

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