“I love the song of these dear ones,” she said
as she sipped wine beside the reed-riddled pond.
“And I love this wine. It is a lovely red.”
Behind her the mansion stood, a red dusk beyond.
She let the young man with the golden hair
kiss her neck as he touched her black-gowned hips
and though she was older than he, she was still fair—
except where concerned her late husband’s lips.
“Yes,” she said, “I declare this croaking song
the finest I have heard since before my wedding.
Frogs are princes, you know. They can do no wrong
so long as they are croaking before the bedding.”
The young man laid his head upon her breast,
his curly hair glinting gold against mottled skin,
and she kissed with wine-stained lips that gilt nest
and laughed to think of her husband’s wrathful kin.
“Those complacent fools,” she said, “they thought to steal
from me what was mine by right of marriage,
but there was no breaking the words of the Will.
No longer am I horse to their whip and carriage.”
The clamorous chorus of frogs rallied,
gurgling amidst darkening New England waters
and she twirled her finger in his hair as she tallied
the delicious scowls of step-sons and step-daughters.
But nothing was more delicious than that last sound
her late husband made as the glass fell from his grasp;
a sound like a faltering footstep on boggy ground—
the croak of a throat given to a phlegmy gasp.
“There is nothing the right wine cannot accomplish,”
she said pushing the young man’s head farther down.
“The right vintage is a genie granting any wish…”
She moaned as he kissed her within her mourning gown.
The picnic at the pond sprawled but a little way
from the fresh-cut headstone, and the unsettled earth,
so her late husband could join them on that joyful day
of his own Wake, with its amphibious frog-song mirth.