"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

of metamorphosis.

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.

Instagram: @melissasussens

Twitter: @girlstillwrites

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