Soft spoken cranes

by Adèle Barclay

(Part 1)

I prefer you soft-spoken, words uncurled
And an unmentioned hand
That twists paper-thin sentences into origami cranes
They stretch their wings that we have made
They are creased in all the wrong places
Not from a lack of concentration or effort
But a lack of skill
Yet still they dive with an oddly curved neck
Into our conversation (devoid of any grand purpose)

And so our origami creatures unfold themselves into a crippled but affable flight:
Clumsy, you could be beautiful
Creased, we may be right
Crooked, we were too delicate at times
Crinkled, not forceful enough

We watch our crumpled creatures
Live out the rest of their days in a short life
Let them breathe the clouds of our wasted breath
Until we can give up our scribbled lyrics of
“he said” and “she said”
lift ourselves up from this mess, battered from inexperience
the mistakes we make while desperately trying to create
learn from these early attempts at beautiful paper birds
and know when to put these old unspoken scraps
to rest

(Part 2)

All the folds foreshadowed
what was to come in the night
well, even when we didn’t
origami: the act
we created, heavy-breaths
silently mouthing the instructions:
Seize the crease,
make the wings lift,
and breathe life into
unscathed by ink
but wrinkled by touch

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.