That fractured day as the sun pulled down the shade over the cattails at the edge of the
old pond I took my father’s pistol and shot a bullfrog half-hidden among the scum.
I left the frog living not dead, bullet through its fat summer belly.
And when it leapt into the last swath of sunlight — fore and aft legs reaching athwart —
the yellow throat pouch ballooned some pain or warning or reflex or all.
Then it fell, the body, the croak, the day, and the idea that I would ever be my elder
brother, the one I esteemed, who found killing a satisfaction against unspeakable rippling
Water threaded red.
Stunned, the frog and I, into gawking each other from a cold spectrum’s termini: predator
from | to prey: My pupils dilated black into lead blue; his narrowed to black seeds afloat
in splendid gold so gold it looked real gold. And the gold of that sunset lit upon his
parietal eye, the third eye, the last eye to see a world go eternal dark.
A world where the death of a frog is nothing, no thing, is less than the drivel of snot I
wiped on the back of my hand, my left hand, the hand without the gun, as I sank crying
on the dried mud bank at the edge of a sinking sun and a sinking bullfrog drawing shut its
eyelids over the magnificent gold of childhood as it died.
Debra Di Blasi is the author of Drought & Say What You Like (New Directions), The Jiri Chronicles & Other Fictions (FC2/University of Alabama Press), and Prayers of An Accidental Nature (Coffee House Press). She’s a recipient of a James C. McCormick Fiction Fellowship from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, Thorpe Menn Book Award from AAUW, & NOW Award, and Diagram Innovative Fiction Award. Her literary writing has appeared in The Iowa Review, Chelsea, Boulevard, Drunken Boat, Notre Dame Review, New Letters, and many other journals and anthologies. She is a former art columnist, educator, and publisher. More: www.debradiblasi.com