“Origami” by Meg Yardley

Meg Yardley


Of course you can fold a bird. A rabbit
that puffs up at your breath.
Two interlocking rings from a single sheet

of kami. A waterlily. A star box. But now try
folding the jade plant you left in the car

to be scorched by the sun. Try
folding Afghanistan. Fold the wrinkles
of that conversation you wanted to have.

Inside-reverse-fold the empty space
in your Sundays. Try folding this city

of layers, peeling back taxis, scarves,
quarters dropped in paper cups,
Rockefeller Plaza. Beginning with a bird base,

fold the Spanish jumbled in your ears. Quickly.
Fold the edges of the wind that cuts in

from the river. Make one valley fold
diagonally. Fold failures. Try folding
the empty space in your Sundays.

Start from a bird base again: that small girl
whose long dark hair looks like hers.

Fold the seven days of the week from a single
sheet of kami. Try folding money
into more money. In ten steps or less,

fold this city of layers. Petal-fold the winter
until it lies flat at the bottom of the star box

with Afghanistan and the empty space
in your Sundays. Now open up the bird:
count the creases left in the paper.

from Rattle #29, Summer 2008


Meg Yardley: “I live in Oakland, California, having transplanted myself there from the East Coast. About this poem: Once a piece of paper has been folded, it always retains the crease. In the same way, I am changed irreversibly by the people whose lives touch mine. This poem is about how I (we) try to make sense of loss and change.”

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