The museum’s frog info site is sponsored by Alcoa,
a company more responsible for the destruction
of Hills frog habitat than any other. I went to confirm
a childhood memory, and realised those tadpoles
and froglets and juvenile frogs we stole from their homes
under the spillway of Churchman’s Brook Dam,
or from creeks or banks of those creeks downstream
that still ran unhindered by engineering, to lift
and bottle and translocate to our garden pond (a kind
of liberty, we imagined: an old concrete double-sided
washtub with its dividing wall smashed through
and plughole cemented and buried, so soil and grass
lapped its banks), were already or would become
Moaning Frogs and Motorbike Frogs. Both defined
by their noise, and not their psychologies
or composition. We’d observe tadpole conversions.
Alcoa mines bauxite. Aluminium comes from bauxite.
Each act of extraction is lexical and contrite as donation.
No E. M. Forster requirements for narrative
are required to tell this story. Its outcomes.
Though the sensation of frogskin on your skin
was more than citation. And it is with more
than détournement that we touch aluminium.

John Kinsella

John Kinsella’s new work includes the story collection Pushing Back (Transit Lounge, 2021), Saussure's Kaleidoscope Graphology Drawing-Poems (Five Islands Press/Apothecary Archive, 2021) and The Ascension of Sheep: Collected Poems Volume 1 (UWAP, 2022).

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays