green frog
folded by nj
from a model by John Montroll

my hands are folding a tiny frog. my eyes blurred, my joints complaining, my fingers numb, i crease another imperfect line. so sloppy; these angles do not meet at a corner, these edges bunch together, this vertex has been folded and refolded so many times a pinhole has formed. but never mind; eventually the legs fall more or less into place, the toes allow themselves to be coaxed out, the eyes are pulled into shape with tweezers. it is a little head-heavy--the front legs are somewhat too short--but a decent likeness nevertheless.

i am not yet finished: the frog has no habitat. i fold tangly moss, small rocks, little crickets with wings. as i fold smaller and smaller objects, i seem to become more accurate; i no longer need the tweezers. i can form creases by pure will.

i surround my frog with flora and fauna, but she still seems unhappy. i look at my fingers, green with paper dye, and realize that the frog's sensitive skin has no protection. i must fold a thousand microscopic squares into molecules to form the frog's slippery coating. then i fold a thousand thousand more into water and air.

the fingers, intent on folding, are beyond my control. the frog has no sun, so the fingers fold helium atoms together into fusion reactions. but their newfound confidence falters, they misplace a crease, the error multiplies--a chain reaction--the star goes nova, destroying the entire solar system.

the fingers consider for awhile, setting out first to rebuild the sun and the planets. at first they are daunted by the complexity of the task; but then they have an inspiration: why not begin at the very beginning, with the most basic and primitive folds?

working with devilish surety, they take the universe and fold it into a simple yet profound void; and then they fold a single word...

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