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Ode to Paper Cranes  

by | Apr 8, 2021 | The Written Word


Sadako Sasaki, age two when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, became ill with leukemia ten years later. She folded 644 paper cranes.

Japanese legend
says fold a thousand
paper cranes
your heart’s wish
will be granted

My Japanese students
folded gum wrappers
for happiness
silver cranes
filling our classroom

In flight
necks stretch
straight arrows
to heaven
so beautiful

I resist
the impulse
to frame them
anchor them
in collage

Sadako creased
and folded
paper cranes
patient for a promise
a wish on wings

hope is a thousand
times hope
when it’s the folding
of a girl’s heart
one crane at a time

Ione (Tootsie) O'Hara

Tootsie O’Hara has lived in Davidson for sixteen years. Since retiring from teaching English as a Second Language, she has tutored privately and has facilitated poetry workshops. Her chapbook, A Passing Certainty, was published by Pudding House Press.

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