Backyard Metamorphosis
by Jimmy Pappas

The snow is gone now. The green shoots
of the perennials pierce through the dead
leaves and carry them upward like brown
hoopskirts. We dance cancans together
as I lift my bathrobe and prance around the yard.
I kick my legs up and display my specialities
to an admiring chorus of spring peepers.
Cavorting to the music of Offenbach’s
Infernal Galop, I sing Ta rah rah boom de yay.
A wood frog Toulouse-Lautrec sets up an easel
to paint this scandalous imitation of Jane Avril.

Mosquito larvae squiggle about in the stagnant
water of a red wheelbarrow I have left outside
for the winter. Not much depends upon them
unless you happen to be one. I study messages
they broadcast in Early Bronze Age cuneiform
script explaining to me that my transformation
is about to begin. After I tip them over on the lawn,
I find a hidden spot in the bushes beside the road
to build my bower with the buttons I have stored
in an empty check box, the shells I collected on
Turtle Beach, some leftover nails, and a gold chain.
When I am ready, I will hide there to molt and squawk
Ko-ko-ri-ko at passers-by. They will gaze in
amazement at the splendor of my new feathers.

IMAGE: “Idyll (Pan Amidst Columns)” by Arnold Böcklin (1875).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Every spring I feel a change in my personality. I saw the brown leaves around the green plants and I thought of the cancan. So I just imagined myself dancing around the yard and kicking my legs up with my bathrobe on. The term “specialities” was actually used by cancan dancers. By the way, I really can talk to the gray tree frogs in my yard. I make a squeaking noise and they always answer back. Apparently, they think I’m a real hotty.

Jimmy Pappas

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jimmy Pappas received an MA in English Literature from Rivier University. He taught high school English, poetry, and philosophy for thirty years. Since his retirement, he has continued to facilitate writing workshops for adults and young poets. Jimmy’s poems have been published in such journals as Atticus Review, Houseboat, Kentucky Review, Silver Birch Press Mythology Series, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, and War, Literature and the Arts. He is a recent first-prize winner of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s National Contest.

PHOTO: Jimmy‘s last photo as a teacher before he became a cancan dancer. There are no photos of his backyard dancing.