The Crane

She starts as a square piece of paper, pink side up. Crease and open again.  She gasps for air. Crease and open again. Her limbs are reaching out like a pinwheel. Gentle hands turn her over, pat her doe white behind, and set her down. She’s a small delicate beginning lying face-up on the metal table.

The fingers of time swaddle her, and mold her to life’s geometry. Pudgy hands touch her knees and help her rock back and forth. Mom takes a picture to crease that fold, before she teeters forwards.

Her arms become bat wings that fold around doggies and daisy bouquets and teddy bears. In, crease. Out, crease. Hugs are becoming a habit.

Her first word, “Dada,” escapes and her head bows down reverently. Crease there, where her Adam’s apple slowly rolls under the skin like the tip of a ballpoint pen. This is her new command room of expression, the cockpit of the bird.

She lifts her corners up until she’s sailing high like a kite, legs straight and strong. She steps with the crutch of her blue toy car, Mom’s hand, the staircase bannister.  Her walk is new, and her  precarious legs begin to crumple under newfound weight.

But she grows tough and precious like a diamond, letting fingernails crease her into the puzzle of self-actualization. Her legs come up into crisscross applesauce, hopscotch and then in the dance steps of the Texas Tommy. Her wings pull straight out, fan towards Lake Union, extend towards a friend, and point her like a compass. Her mouth becomes a beak, prodding for the next adventure, gaping with the next song.

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