"Beginning with a Frog and Ending in an Airport" by Melissa Sussens
I wake with a frog in my hand, true story.
It is the middle of a cool Autumn night
and I am in the guest room,
my mother still awake and reading
on the other side of the wall.
Prince Charming is perched
in the palm of my hand.
A cold, wet pebble of surprise
crowned by eyes blinking up at me.
The prince (who is a frog, in my hand)
croaks for a kiss, for the soft release
it would bring him from his cursed existence.
I am too gay and too sad
to even consider the possibility
I cannot kiss him,
not even to forget
the curse of her airport lips
on repeat in my mind.
I am puddled by my ache for her,
only a month into my new emptiness.
I read once that a frog will shed
and then eat its own dead skin.
I cannot shed her yet,
cannot pretend to swallow the past.
She is a shadow skin
still clinging to me.
Melissa Sussens (she/her) is a queer South African veterinarian and poet. Her work has appeared in Germ Magazine, Capsule Stories and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others. She has been shortlisted for the New Contrast National Poetry Prize and lives in Cape Town with her girlfriend and their two dogs.