Bullfrog Baptism

I was alone on a cloudy day
a weary fog
pregnant with plump moisture
sagged in the valleys
brushed treetops with the weight of its burden

A pungent odor permeated the thick air
as I walked outside
the smell of rot and decay
wrinkled my nose

I tried to ignore it
but the damp air trapped it
close to my body
penetrating my clothing
seeping into my pores

I walked faster
my heels clicking sharply on the gravel
crunching beneath my boots
perhaps speed
would allow me to escape the stench

Rounding a bend
beneath wet trees
releasing captured rain drip by drip
I heard a bull frog
and stopped to listen

In the stillness
I realized the foulness I smelled was with me
I tore off my jacket
flooded with relief
delighted I had removed
the offensive article

But as I continued along the path
the rotten smell slowly came back
it was as though a skunk
had sprayed me along the way

With each layer of clothing that I shed
I experienced a brief respite from
the sense of putrid death

Finally I stood naked
tears mixing with a gentle rain

I stood naked
no longer able to deny
where the smell was coming from

On my knees
face in hands
I begged an unseen power
to rid me of the fetor

I poured my heart out
to the bullfrog I had heard in the bulrushes

When I finished
silence of the forest
was broken
by a chorus of frogs
They had been there all along
I was not alone

Teardrops and raindrops
had cleansed me with the outpouring of emotion
I had unwittingly experienced
a rite of passage
No longer did I need to run from myself

This forest baptism
ablution by nature
with bullfrogs as witness
had purified my heart
my character
washed away my funky malodour
so I could recognize
sweetness and beauty within

4 thoughts on “Bullfrog Baptism

  1. Meghan says:

    Wow! This poem sounds like it was more than just a work of imagination; it reads as a very powerful experience, I think. Loved your description of the heavy fog, and of how the smell clung to you. It’s as though the smell itself was a very tangible, fetid and cloying character within the poem. So many lovely lines in this piece, Mary 🙂

  2. Lisa says:

    This is one of my favorites. Thank you, Mary

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