Two New Poems

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Reverse Origami

If you could unfold a section
and see how the fingertips smoothed the corner
straight and to a point
would you?
In order to hold a peace dove in your palm
you need to fold in half, in half again and unfold,
turn and lift wings, let them fall.
If you could go back,
read instructions mindfully
be fully present,
maybe the dove would look less like an elephant.
Your life might contain another shape,
more coherence,
more symmetry,
more what you intended
so when you look back you are not ashamed of your decisions,
have nothing to run from,
be nowhere but joy.
You need good light to make good origami.
Unfold this beak and see where it takes you
or begin again with a fresh tissue paper square
this one shocking red.

To watch an artist intentionally fold a colossal origami elephant with great cost and collaboration, check this out:

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Tiananmen

A monk rests on my bedroom wall
his elbows out like wings,
shaven head heavy upon his right hand–
I cannot see his face–
palm pressed into a wooden railing,
his body giving up its weight.
His left hand’s long fingers dangle
from the wrist
surrendered
as if to say
these orange robes
only conceal so much.
The photographer visiting China
labeled the monk’s image “Tiananmen,”
etched him into 1989.
Perhaps the photographer needed a translator to ask
Are you thirsty?
Do you have a headache?
Do you need a quiet space to rest?

Twenty years I have wondered at this gifted photo.
The shoulders might droop,
the head might bow
from sorrow over the death of his brother,
from waking at 3 a.m. to stretch and boil water,
from waking every minute of every day
over and over.

About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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