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  • Writer's pictureErin Snedeker

Paper Queendom

I learned to make paper cranes in my twenties,

after grad school

Clumsy folds and crooked creases over

brightly colored squares of paper

To remind myself that there are still things to learn.

Graduated, and now, little fish, big pond,

I swim in currents I'm supposed to be prepared for.

No one makes money as an artist, a writer. And

while I could do without money,

money is bread and water and electricity

and I cannot do without those.

But no one makes money as an artist, a writer,

And I make some

(though not much and not through art)

So no artist, no writer could I be

My face is illuminated by the wintry light of my phone

as I follow the creased hands of the tutorial

Fold, tuck, coax the paper into something beautiful.

My cranes don't stand, but lean on a paper wing

and I have yet to produce a sharp, even crease in the tail,

but they exist,

my meager paper Queendom of imperfect, beautiful things

And they deserve to, have a right to.

This paper was always meant to be folded into

something beautiful.

It's morning, though not early,

and the cat has scared the dog to her hideaway.

And my cranes rest haphazardly in a tiny flock on the table

next to my mug of tea, now cold.

I don't know how to be a writer, an artist,

in a way that other people will acknowledge.

But I must continue to swim in this current that has swept me away,

though my teachers and mentors attempted to prepare me for it,

having learned to navigate it better than I.

But there is still time to learn.

The cat leaps onto the window ledge.

Beyond the smudged glass,

birds chirp and a breeze tickles the leaves of the bushes,


They exist without wondering at their beauty.

They exist without wondering at their purpose.

They have learned to swim in currents better than I.

Their seeds were always meant to produce something beautiful.

I don't know how to be anything other than myself:

writer, artist, daughter, sister.

But there are still things to learn.

Tucked into the folds of my being is the hope that

I was always meant to make something beautiful.

I add another crane to my paper Queendom,

stormy gray with smaller, more delicate folds.

More will come later, and

I will build them a tower of ink around which

to fly

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