The anonymous frog stands tall and proud
by the Wal-Mart loading dock,
unafraid at these off-hours,
on a steamy August night, just right for permeable skin hydration,
and croaking for a mate.
The smooth stone estate spills out before him,
even as foot traffic abates indoors,
and the glisten of fragmented rubber under a film of oil
on the pavement,
so thin it rivals just one of his three sets of eyelids,
gives way to the cool moonlight
that lights the way to the creek
where he yearns to join his brothers,
to chorus loud enough to awaken the people
from their somnambulant summer shopping.
One jump at a time,
elongated muscles pull on fused bones
to thrust him one full car length,
one parking space to the open far end
that liberates him through the span guiding human passage,
trafficked by their humming vehicles that can out-horn his croak.
Locomotion is relative, and the frog is one of earth’s great masters.
The ant hefts fifty of his kind with ease;
the impala makes a horse to crawl;
the frog leaps as if gravity were horizontal.
He has crossed half the lot with agile deliberation,
as the lanterned shoppers wind their carts slowly,
contemplating candy bars, crayons and coupons,
imagine-fitting “Made in China” in a mirror,
and lumber on to the next aisle.
Why does he cross?
He suffers no existential dilemma. He leaps.
His amphibian consciousness
has never been measured.
It may not be measurable.
Tonight, he will find a mate,
take her in amplexus, fertilize her eggs beneath the moon,
the stream’s surface,
the clatter of the vehicles
and take to the cool corners of the brook
to pass the sear of the oncoming day, shielded from the savage predation
that will decimate his progeny.
Survivors will follow,
feast on mosquito, millipede, spider and snail,
find themselves as he is, the unsung stepchildren of the ecosystem,
beyond the humans in their own gathering activities,
across the Wal-Mart parking lot.