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
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