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Maggie Edwards

Anatomy of a Paper Crane

There are trees

full of paper

cranes, dangling

where cranes

shouldn’t be

but they’d melt

into pulp

if they stood

on one foot

in the water

& they don’t

have legs and the tail

feathers twist up, not

down like the flesh

and feathered crane

reflected on the


& no one said

that origami should

be anatomically


the creases

should be precise,

wishes pressed flat

with a fingernail


the whole thing

comes out



A crane

not meant to look

like a crane rests

in the folds of delicate

paper & the colours

don’t matter and the size

doesn’t matter, but the paper

mustn't be too thick

or it will clump

them up in chunks of

too much pulp

and now the crane

is heavy and its wings

are lop-

sided and how

can it fly with your wish

wherever it goes⎼to some paper

pond with paper frogs

on paper lilies, still

Waiting still for a fly, in the home

of paper prayers

with paper

flags that hang from blossomed

trees with scripts running


thick wings make

for grounded birds

like ostriches or kiwis, not

the kind to wish upon

to carry a dream

to the prayer pond

flightless birds

are a matter of too

thick heavy paper

and bad creases


Maggie Edwards teaches English in rural South Korea. Her work has appeared in the Antigonish Review.

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