george the frog


near the back door

i found a tiny creature 

his bloated belly, composed of elastic meshwork

like my Ah Ma’s sticky ang ku kueh 

made its way into my open bag

i named him george and fed him

my maths textbook for breakfast

so he would grow big and smart

his webbed feet rose, the chinese paper fans

on his sole helped him glide in the air as

his florid tongue snapped

and caught unsuspecting mosquitos


at first Ah Ma disapproved of me keeping him

but after insects in the yard seemed to decrease

she didn’t object, saying

“Ai ya, might as well get rid of those pesky mosquitoes”

the mud in the yard was murky that day

i found those pale green spots, and remembered

Ah Ma said I was not to touch

the dirt and mud, because bacteria, she said

but i watched him paint 

her pristine terrazzo tiles with mud

great hard-working splatters as he hopped

i picked him up and gave him a squeeze

admiring his art 

but put him back when he gave a sore wheeze

slipped through my grasp and tumbled away

when i went back, i washed my hands and

covered my tracks 

so that

Ah Ma wouldn’t find out

that day

her grandson was a murderer

Rachel Tan Rui En (Class of 2026) is a developing writer with a particular interest in Singapore literature. She enjoys knitting beside her pretend fireplace and taking life slow when SOTA submissions aren’t due.