Eating Frogs

by Derek Otsuji

We brought them home live in a gunny sack
that bulged and moved as the frogs kicked inside.
When dad went in the house to get the cleaver
and cutting board, he gave me the sack to hold.
When he came back, I opened the sack’s mouth.
He reached inside, pulled out a kicking frog.
Somehow two got loose, hopped over the lawn.
My brother chased them down and brought them back.
What I remember was how the eyes blinked
the instant the cleaver dispatched the head.
And how the skin peeled off like wall paper
revealing the clean pink flesh underneath.
Squiggling innards, sponge of lung, the liver
and pulsing heart (that rich red iron red!)
Were removed and the cavity rinsed clean.
Mom boiled the chopped-up parts in a huge pot.
We ate them with pepper and Worcestershire Sauce.

Born on Oahu, Derek N. Otsuji is the author of The Kitchen of Small Hours, winner of the 2020 Crab Orchard Poetry Series Open Competition. He is a 2019 Tennessee Williams Scholar and has received awards from Bread Loaf and The Kenyon Review Writers Conference. Recent poems have appeared in Bamboo Ridge, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Bennington Review, Pleiades, Rattle, The Southern Review, and The Threepenny Review.