My Life as a Frog | Tina Kimbrell
I spent my days in a pond with the frogs. I stood with the tiniest tadpoles and the tadpoles caught in the in-between, their little legs sprouting from their bulbous teardrop bodies. My body loomed among them—a foreign pulse. I stepped around the edges, watched the grown bodies dart away in waves and bellyflop back into the water. I sat alone in the tall grass nearby, legs chigger-bitten and scabbed, and watched the cattails wag with the weight of red-winged blackbirds. Their nests were buried somewhere deep in the weeds. They would leave and return again and again.
At night, my mother worked at a factory, deboning whole chicken after whole chicken with her gloved hands. My father drank beer after beer after selling couch after couch all day. At 11:00 each night he left to pick up my mother from the factory parking lot. I was in bed but not asleep, sprawled on top of humid sheets. When I saw the headlights glide away and across my bedroom walls, I walked out onto the back deck in the dark and listened to the constant chirp of tree frogs, the low trill of bullfrogs. My eyes adjusted just enough to see the outlines of trees among the glowing confetti of lightning bugs, the yo-yo bounce of bats overhead. But the frogs remained invisible and loud. Their throats throbbed a woven chorus, blanketing the night with me inside it.
I would sit and wait. I would cling to the wood and watch for the familiar headlights turning back again onto the gravel.
About the Author:
Tina Kimbrell is from rural Missouri and now lives in eastern Iowa where she works from home in the educational technology industry. She received an MFA from the University of Washington. In her free time she enjoys learning how to play roller derby, visiting roadside attractions, and hanging out with her dog.