Lift

A paper crane hangs down
from the rod above the window, surrounded by air
but not quite flying.

Stacks of square paper line his desk.
He licks his thumb and slips a single white sheet
from the closest pile.

My grandfather presses
diagonal folds across the leaf of kami. Each crease
bears a different name. The frog’s mouth, the wolf’s head,

the superman and the skinny kite.
He later plumps the body by pinching its sides
against themselves.

Grandfather works intuitively,
as if he’s learned the ingredients for flight. His fingers
come to rest. On his open palm,

sits a bird made of borrowed names.
He damp-thumbs a flat sheet off the edge of the desk.
It’s still fluttering in the air as he raises the bird to his lips

and blows beneath its wings. Origami paper seesaws,
momentarily higher, in the eddies made by the crane’s folded body
as it topples to the ground.

Lorrie Ness is a poet writing in a rural corner of Virginia. When she’s not writing, she can be found stomping through the woods, watching birds and playing in the dirt. Her work can be found in numerous journals, including Palette Poetry and Sky Island Journal. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021 and her chapbook Anatomy of a Wound was published by Flowstone Press in July of 2021.

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