When I was eight,
my mother taught me how
to fold myself sixteen different ways,
a bygone rule still intact, forming
an incessant cycle of anxiety.
Paper is most beautiful when
twisted beyond belief, marred, and
fearfully bent. Walking fast at 11PM
under a haze of gaudy city lights
to eschew the scrutinizing glares
that undress my trembling legs
with mindlessly perfervid stares.
My mother told me to be careful
of the white vans and chiseled faces
of men whose spidery hands tickle
my crooked spine and festering flesh.
Those men walk through the streets,
maddeningly carefree and apathetic,
and meanwhile I’m trying
to fold myself sixteen ways,
a wilting origami crane that won’t
grant any poor child’s wishes.
By Elle Park
Elle Park is from Southern California.