The frog

Good morning.
It's a sunny day
in Bushrod Community Park.
A Sunday morning.
The birds and squirrels are up.
What are you, poet?
What's your story?
Got anything? No?

This is how you saw it, right?
25, sleepless, sexless
beard and hair everywhere
trying to write himself
on a war-torn green picnic table
in the park in the neighborhood
sure of only one thing:

The last demon
to sit down
at this picnic table
was a hell of a lot scarier
than you are.

This is what you dreamt of, yes?

Well, did you wake up yet?

Can't wake up if you never slept, right?

Cute answer, but wrong.

You love to sleep.

You just can't.

I left the portal on
back at home
while you went for this
adorable little walk.
Cold comfort for when you get back,
I know,
but it's home. Right?

Last night,
you thought you heard this signal
that wrote over the last noise,
whatever it was,
and then wrote over it again.
The sound of the
delete key
on a blinking red
emergency panel.
You pushed the button
again and again
expecting the screen
to go blank
but it didn't.
It wouldn't shut off.

Now it's just morning again.

Just this. Yawn.

The kids are learning baseball
from the dads and other men.

People are holding cell phones
up to their ears
wobbling around by themselves
pretending to have something to do
pacing back and forth
just looking at cracked, green paint
seeing how deep the cracks are.

Yeah, he's doing it. Yep.
A grown-up with a blue polo shirt
tucked into his jeans,
after doing his arm stretches,
is climbing onto the jungle gym
right in front of you
to swing from the monkey bars
just one time.
And now he's off the playground
walking back onto the court
to practice his pitching motion
like nobody's watching.

Oh, but he knows you're there.
He's going to walk by you now
on the way to his car.
You're twiddling your beard,
and he's nodding to you.
Quit touching your face
and say it,
croak "Good morning,"
sounding just like the frog
you ate for dinner
last night,
crunching up the bones in
your teeth.

Now hop home,
back through Bushrod,
past the Beautiful Gate Church
cross Shattuck
without getting splattered,
crawl back into your portal,
and don't wake the stranger
sleeping in your living room.