"Frog Parts" by Brynn Downing

“Frog Parts” by Brynn Downing

In spring, the ones the cats don’t eat

get squished and dried, they become paper

versions of  themselves- the outline of a frog,

frozen by headlights.

They take on the shape of a biology tray,

for every frog is a dead frog, its stomach opened

for me. I learned the heart’s chambers,

how blood pushed from one arm

to the other, the smell of pig’s liver

preserved by formaldehyde.


Paul kept the cow’s eye- cerulean retina –

wrapped in a tissue, stuffed in his pocket.

Sheep’s heart, brain.

Inchworm, a fetal pig that came

from a bucket- extra points for identifying a deformation,

correctly declaring the sex.


The small things we killed

without meaning to: a captured lady bug

that beat herself to death; when I found her again,

all that remained was a blur of blood

and wings. The light flicked  on, the moth

that died yearning against the glass.