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April 2, 2012 / Rae Spencer



The embryo flexes
Twirling in its clotted pearl
Of egg, clouds of spawn
Spattered across the bog

The pollywog nursery lined
With moss and leaves
Mud and silt, secluded pools
For the immature throng

Of grazers, minnow sleek
In mottled skin with bristle
Gills neatly tucked away
The whole world is water

Mouths full and ears full
As bones push into buds
Sprouting these legs
In an awkward unbecoming

The road to exile, maturity
Is always a breaking
Of surface, an intersection
Of amnion, water, and air

No ribs, no muscles
For the breath, only gulp
And inefficient heart
Subject to chill, blood

Flecked and flickering
Supplemented by supple
Skin, a tenuous tension
Of absorption and loss

The sustained refrain, air
Vibrating in humid heat
All their hungry songs afloat
Thrilling through their empty throats

These photos were taken January 1, 2004 at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, which was hosting a traveling exhibit called “Frogs: A Chorus of Colors”.


  1. selah / Apr 2 2012 5:08 PM

    very cool!

  2. bardessdmdenton / Apr 12 2012 11:55 AM

    Beautiful verse and photos, Rae! I adore frogs and hope you don’t mind me directing you to a recent post of mine, ‘Bog Chorus’

    • Rae Spencer / Apr 12 2012 2:52 PM

      Thank you! And thanks for the link. I especially love your artwork.

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