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".