Missing many things, and sad, a girl faced a watery pool.
And from that pool, a frog like a glistening turd popped.
I was the girl, and my grandmother the frog. This was not a dream—I could see my throat in the mirror opposite the toilet, my own bathroom—but my grandmother was two years deceased, so it ends.
Bugs, viruses, mold, and sickness surrounded us, yet my grandmother was undeniably visible. The turd-shaped frog, how did I know she was my grandmother? By the Miraculous Medal round her neck. For us who have recourse to thee, conceived without sin—
It was an item I had hoped to inherit.
Sometimes the disappeared fall from the sky. At other times, she pops from a pool. In Erie, Pennsylvania, toilets flush to the bottom of the lake, and drinking water we skim from the top. This does not need to be explained.
From my sadness, incessant cramping, and glistening jest, my grandmother manifested manifold intimacies—all ours. In a word, she appeared. Sat upon the bare skin of my thigh, below the mirror, as I crouched there on the toilet, squeezing, pushing, occasionally thrusting—to no avail.
Give me a kiss, my grandmother hummed. And she held my face—as she had been wont to do in life—between tiny webbed hands, succulent and wet.
Keep close, every moment of our lives.
Remember a particular swerve, a kiss denied, her lips smacking the air next my cheek—a mistake never balmed—on the last day of her life. Remember I did not kiss her goodnight.
Bearing this now, I acquiesced readily, in the bathroom, cramping and aching. Soggy lips on sopping pores, I kissed my grandmother’s entire frog body.
And in my ardor, sucked it down with a womanly slurp.
I swallowed my grandmother, for all animals die, and nothing need be suppressed, but only contained. To constipate is to press closely, and I do this with my grandmother’s memory and body both.
Facing my throat, still and again, in that mirror, swallowing once more, I complied. Up and then down, nothing coming out, and silent.
The Miraculous Medal, removed but not redeemed, accompanied my grandmother on her return disappearance. We do not handpick inheritances.
We dedicate and consecrate— Another fruitless attempt, I flushed. For each one of us a sure sign. The grace of a happy death.
Jaclyn Watterson is left-handed, vegetarian, and of choleric temperament. She currently resides in Atlanta, and gardens in fair weather on a small balcony. Her first book, a collection of fictions and horrors entitled Ventriloquisms, is forthcoming from Willow Springs Books/Eastern Washington University in late 2017.