Glass Poetry Press

Volume One Issue Two

Ryan A. Bunch

Annual Toads

I was seven and named mine Gus. We'd caught toads in a murky old creek about a mile from my house, my brother said it ran straight into Lake Erie. I wanted to train that toad and take him to school with me. On the playground he would do tricks, the other kids would want one too, they'd call me Toad Man, we'd even make cover of the yearbook. But, after two days all he'd done was pee on my hand. I didn't have any idea what to feed him, so my brother and I decided to release them in the sandbox. We set them down and they hopped away. I stepped back into a thicket of milkweed. Under my bare foot I felt a rubbery squish. We rushed him to the ER of our garage. I disassembled an old matchbox car and removed the rear axle. Derek made the cart and the toad died when we strapped it to him with a twist-tie from a bread bag. We buried him in a ratty washcloth that summer, right underneath the Tulips in the flowerbed. That was the first time I heard the term 'annual'. Tulips were perennials, Gus was a perennial, and Derek said that he and I were perennials too. I didn't always believe him though. That creek might have run into Lake Erie, and into the ocean, and all the way to China.