Autumn Carter


Gait. Stop. Observe the girl.
Out of paper drinks
the darkening sea, swallowing the murky brown of too many colors.
each piece.
This is why I still stand.

and of snow)
as he carefully unfolds it, pieces crumpled
and useless as chicken feathers)
stroke would feel smooth and creamy.
They have heard meaner truths spoken.
There are no words,
and he will use the pages as the animals weep,
tears making their dye unhappy eyes
hope the space between the bars,
drowning them in the menagerie

My heart is origami—square cages.

“Gomen,” he will say, “Gomen-nasai,”
eyes the animal
sees her take flight—wings heart
(he smells of fish and kelp and houses stumbling on each paper foot,
and splayed spindly-legged beast,
wise as a newborn.

the boy will read a Japanese book. He will use the last pages
to make this animal.
who would have thought its paws (world sliding liquidly behind them,
filling paper
transformed into a tiny, crisp edged animals—all like my heart) were hard?
When he has used this book
to build a menagerie of rainbow boats.
“konnichiwa,” the boy says.

Somewhere on Hokkaido the sun translates “leaves of grass,”
in which we have never heard anything as cruel.

all the animals,
the sky hanging black in their eyes runs and stains.
“ki-ni shinaide,” they say.