“Not Scared, Frog” by Eleanor Tecosky-Feldman

4 AM.

There were things to fear, so I feared them.

Sound in the water pipes,
shadow near the coat rack,
blackbird outside my window

Pipe-creak like a frog growling.

Little sound. Little frog. Little shadow, little bird. Little girl. Little.

Not scared, frog, I tell him.

Little—I make myself little. Four years old, a girl
balanced on the bulb of the nightlight, flickering,
an atomic creature, a cautionary tale.

I call upon God, the Sun, my Father.

                         * * *

Only one of the three answered.

He brought me a shiny black jar of magic: caviar.
The lesson was that your fears are gelatinous.
They will melt in your mouth on the kitchen steps.

It doesn’t matter if your fear isn’t yet amphibious,
or more ambitious, coming up dripping
and ambiguous from the lagoon—

my father and I ate caviar in the dark.
Together, we were not afraid of the frog,
And my spoon was always silver.

Always being taught in soft tones.
Cuddled and kissed.
Taken so gently by the hand.

How nice it was then, fearing those things.


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