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by Maralee Gerke

"My mother is a poem I'll never be able to write, though everything I write is a
poem to my mother." —Sharon Dowbiago

Mountain fold, valley fold,
colored paper becomes
tulips, kimonos, shirts and daisies.

My fingers caress the paper
folding laughter, tears,
happiness and heartbreak into each design.

Onto a white, pink, or blue card
I glue them, then
add a note of reassurance and sign my name.

I imagine her turning the key
tearing open the envelope
tears glisten because I am far away.

So, I fold Japanese paper
into helmets, fans, and fish,
pursuing the ritual journey of daughterhood
reshaping my love.


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