When young we’d go
To the crackling, glowing canal
And scoop out buckets of frogspawn.
We poured the gloop into the old cracked fish tank
In the shed at the bottom of the garden
We watched the little black dots grow tails
And the tadpoles swim round in the goo.
Next formed the legs
Little black drumsticks pumping
Then the arms, double-elbowed
With seven hook-clawed fingers to each hand,
And the heads, eyes glowing,
Hinged mouth-parts, cutting edges
Serrated and keen.
Finally their tails dropped off,
Their wings inflated
And the frogs flew away
We’d see them up in trees
Or hanging in the air like dark party balloons
Eye-stalks scanning for kittens and rats
And the faces of babies
Carelessly left unwatched
Til mating season came round again
And they in turn
Went to the canal to spawn.
I look back at my childhood fondly,
recalling these innocent pleasures
before the cancer spawned in us,
leaving tumours like dark party balloons
caught in trees of bone.