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How to Change a Frog Into a Prince

Start with the underwear. Sit him down.
Hopping on one leg may stir unpleasant memories.
If he gets his tights on, even backwards, praise him.
Fingers, formerly webbed, struggle over buttons.
Arms and legs, lengthened out of proportion, wait,
as you do, for the rest of him to catch up.
This body, so recently reformed, reclaimed,
still carries the marks of its time as a frog. Be gentle.
Avoid the words awkward and gawky.
Do not use tadpole as a term of endearment.
His body, like his clothing, may seem one size too big.
Relax. There's time enough for crowns. He'll grow into it.

—Anna Denise

from The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm's Fairy Tales, 2003
Story Line Press, Ashland, OR

Copyright 2002 by Anna Denise.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Story Line Press from The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm's Fairy Tales, 2003. Copyright 2002 by Anna Denise. For further permissions information, contact Anna Denise,

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Anna Denise is a children’s librarian in Davis, California. Her poetry appeared in the anthology The Poet’s Grimm in 2003.