Size / / /

The world is a frog

sometimes, in the rainy season. You

used to know that, but your hopes

made you forget. The green of the hills

are slick frogskin, the rivers

tributaries of lapping tongue, the warts

evident. Drive your rattling

truck into the hills, where

there are still caves and old

coal mines and flyspecked diners

in valleys. Scrape the bugs

from their windows, from your windshield,

stop by the bait shop for a bucket

of live crickets. Frogs want

simple things: insects for breakfast,

wetness, something to swallow. Wait until

the rain comes and beats down

the coal dust, and drive

your groaning truck to the mouth

of a cave or a mineshaft. Don't

think about the thing

in the back of your truck,

bigger than dead flies,

wetter. Park, and cut your lights,

and wait for night to fall.

The frog's green eyes will open,

and its mouth will gape, becoming

the cave, becoming a portal.

The entry to the land

of the dead is a frog's mouth

sometimes, when it rains. When

you run out of hope, you remember

that. Take your bucket

of dead crickets, your brown paper

sackful of flies, the heavy

bundle from the back

of your truck. Walk into

the frog's mouth, between

the fangs. Feed it. Maybe

it will swallow you. Maybe

its tongue will unfurl like

a path. Frogs don't

understand mercy

or forgiveness

but they understand hunger.

They understand swallowing.

They understand

you.




Tim Pratt won a Hugo Award for his short fiction (and lost a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award), and his stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Year's Best Fantasy, and other nice places. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife Heather Shaw and son River. For more information about him and his work, see his website. To contact him, send him email at tim@tropismpress.com.
Current Issue
3 Aug 2020

By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
The convoy appeared in a cloud of dust against the Martian dawn atop the eastern hills...Were they bringing food, or were they bringing more war into the chapel?
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Anaea Lay presents Christine Lucas's “My Love, Our Lady of Slaughter.”
the freedom offered by thrashing four limbs, by holding your mouth perfectly ajar like a grotto spitting bubbles
By: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Krishnakumar Sankaran
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents Krishnakumar Sankaran's “This poem is a dead zone” with a reading by the poet.
Issue 20 Jul 2020
By: Ranylt Richildis
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: JD Fox
By: JD Fox
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: JD Fox
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons lanza su convocatoria en busca textos narrativos para su Especial de México, que se publicará a finales de noviembre de 2020!
Issue 13 Jul 2020
By: Alex Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Kimberly Kaufman
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 6 Jul 2020
By: Stephen O'Donnell
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Thomas White
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 30 Jun 2020
By: Carlie St. George
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Janelle C. Shane
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Issue 22 Jun 2020
By: Neha Maqsood
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Neha Maqsood
Issue 15 Jun 2020
By: Remy Reed Pincumbe
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Preston Grassmann
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 8 Jun 2020
By: Kathleen Jennings
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Keaton Bennett
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 2 Jun 2020
By: Sheree Renée Thomas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Maggie Damken
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
Load More
%d bloggers like this: