If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.


Hello, and welcome to my week-by-week review of the world. Today I am reviewing my tadpole.

Earlier this spring I found a tadpole in a Ziplock bag being dangled at arm’s length by a neighborhood boy selling tadpoles door-to-door.

I’d always loved the idea of having a tadpole and this was my chance. A montage of possible adventures the tadpole and I might have flashed before my eyes. We were riding a train in a foreign land, or laughing together while watching a movie, and then fending off a home intruder.

I named him Toddpole. Then I wondered if he was a girl, then remembered a guy I knew named Shannon, and decided everything is okay, it’s just a name.

“What do baby frogs eat,” I panicked. Baby flies maybe, but those are hard to find, so I just made him a fly puree. Except I didn’t have any flies so I used ants. He didn’t seem to care for it. He seemed lazy, frankly.

Everything was going swimmingly (ha ha) until reality struck. Toddpole would not be a cute, black, sperm-like thing forever. One day he would transform into a frog. That’s basically a whole new animal. Toddpole as I knew him would be gone, forever.

The thought of losing him overwhelmed me. I decided to be proactive and sell him back, but that kid was nowhere to be found. I searched high and low, looking in people’s windows and calling out, “Hey little kid” at the playground. Nothing.

I’ve seen in movies where a person appears, does something, and then vanishes and turns out to be a ghost who didn’t like sticking around. Did God send a ghost to bring me a tadpole? Nope. Because when I tried to abandon Toddpole at an animal shelter, the woman there said he was only a rubber toy. I wasn’t angry, I was relieved. Life seemed more manageable knowing Toddpole would never change.

I think a lot of parents might prefer to have rubber children who stay cute forever, instead of real kids who turn into teenagers. Toddpole was the best without any of the worst. I turned him into a keychain.

BEST FEATURE: He requires little care and no money.
WORST FEATURE: If left on the dashboard of my car he may melt.

Please join me next week when I’ll be reviewing Margaret Thatcher.

More Like This

Thank You!