Losing Control of the Toad
Down by the duck pond at Greenbrook Park
where we’d go summer evenings to catch
hop-toads—holding them between thumb
and finger so they couldn’t soil our skin
and give us warts—I told my five-year-old
playmate, Howard Golub: 'You killed Christ.'
I was simply passing on the indictment
handed down by Sister Ann at Catechism.
“The Jews, ” she declared, “crucified Jesus.”
Howie was a Jew. Ergo (though that word
never crossed my mind) he was as guilty
as Judas or Barrabas or Pontius Pilate—
or the dirty rat who hammered in the nails.
Howie denied the charge so vehemently
that I lost control of the toad
which peed all over my hand
and we both ran crying to our mothers.
Later that year as we played Sorry
in the glimmer of my Christmas tree
(the toads of summer having hopped off
stage to make way for elves & angels)
Howie got even with me big-time—
divulging the dark secret
his father never dreamed
would find its way
to little gentile ears:
“There is no Santa Claus.”
It was Götterdämmerung all over again.
Howie was even more certain
Santa didn’t exist than he was that
he hadn’t murdered Jesus Christ.
“My dad’s a Jew! ” he cried, triumphantly,
“and it’s against The Law for Jews to lie.”
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Comments about this poem (Losing Control of the Toad by David Alpaugh )
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
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