Friday, April 3, 2009

The Frog God

Crystal blue drops of rain in the shape of vases from a musty smelling antique store spill down, then pause, suspended, before kissing the ground. You are there and so is grandmother and that rabbit she loved so much, the big fat one with floppy gray ears and long thick fur. The three of you stand beneath a red umbrella adorned with white polka dots so that it resembles a toad stool.
After a moment, I realize that it is a toad stool with big white gills poised just over your heads. The rabbit’s whiskers twitch and his nose wrinkles, breaking the spell which held the rain in place. The droplets crash down and shatter like blue vases leaving liquid blue fragments everywhere. You step out from under the toadstool and beckon to me with a long pale crooked finger. I recognize your hat, tall and black, the long hair trailing down your back and the dark tinted spectacles that hide your eyes behind their rectangular window frames.
I gasp. It is undeniable. You are you, the god I made of graphite and tears on some long ago afternoon at a stained kitchen table bathed in the dirty yellow sun filtered through a gossamer drape that hung over a skylight above the front door. You, the spirit whose voice emerged from the static and consumed a telephone conversation blotting out the other ordinary caller. You, the idea that murmured that the morning star was a gentle fallen angel that loved wild things and music and even humanity. You, walking away from me across the green spring grass, tender and fragrant, wet with broken blue glass.
I hurry behind you with my bare feet, my white sun dress swishing around my legs. Am I young again? I am always young with you, as young as I was when I made you to show me the way. The grass is soft under foot, the blue rain has left it warm and wet.
I glance back at grandmother stooping over to pet the rabbit as I walk. She waves me on with a dismissive gesture and coos to the bunny munching contentedly upon tasty vermilion blades. Your coattails are waiving behind you like the winking forked tongue of a serpent. I follow.
Down an embankment beyond young slender trees with white skins there is a river gurgling along. Its banks are littered with dead frogs the size of my palm, yellow bellies turned up towards the black sky. You sit down and weep. Tears warm my cheeks too. Our tears, small and seemingly insignificant trail down the bank winding around the corpses to join the river. Fed by our tears, the river swells, pushing the frogs further from its lively center. When our tears cease its waters recede again, leaving the frogs well out of its body.
You rise, brushing sand from your legs and coattails. You look at me expectantly, as though I should do something now. Fright shivers over my flesh leaving it goose pimpled. Then, on impulse I pick up the nearest stiffened frog and kiss its dead lips. In my hands, it wriggles, blinks, and croaks. I leap with joy. You smile. Then on hands and knees I crawl from one reposed amphibian to the next, turning them over and kissing the life back into them. The river grows noisy with their joyful croaking and splashing.
Soon you yourself are in the water up to your waste wetting your coattails. Wet sand is caked to my hands and knees and the hem of my dress. The river is alive with activity. You are swimming around like a frog, the other amphibians take turns diving from your shoulders into the river.
I crawl down to the water’s edge, slide out of the soiled shift and slip into the water too. It is icy cold. You paddle to me and place your hat on my head. The water is as black as the sky peeping at us from between the lace of the canopy overhead. That lace is reflected in the water, as are our torsos rising from that liquid mirror.
I plant a kiss on your lips and you slowly sink beneath the surface until you are gone. The river’s current begs me to come along with it, winding away from the wilderness into the farmlands down stream. I wait for you. The river realizes that I will not come and runs on without me.
Time passes with it, but I remain. The frogs entertain me with their symphony. At last I feel the bubbles rising from the river bed. They tickle up and between my legs and burst on the water’s surface, an undeniable sign that you are coming back to me.
The bubbling grows in force, spreading my legs wide and lifting me from the water. I am straddling something white. A horned head rises before me and I am lifted from the water on the back of a beast that delivers us back to shore with a powerful leap. I flatten myself to its back to prevent myself from falling. The black hat topples from my head.
You are not yourself as I knew you last, but it is you, nonetheless. You are you, the white bull that carries me away from the murmuring river and trumpeting frogs at a gallop. I cling tight to you as we thunder through the forest letting the wind dry our white bodies as you run. We fly westward into the thickening trees and deepening wood, away from the farewell song of river and friends, away from grandmother and the rabbit and a field watered with broken glass.
We fly into a wilderness with no path but the one we make.

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