The Crane Wife

The night they married
He handed her a bouquet
He handed her chocolates
He handed her everything:
The keys to the kingdom.
He kept held in his fist the only wish he had left:
A tiny paper flower, lopsided at best
The sheet as imperfect as each crumpled moment
Every fold, every finger in every troubled hand he'd hold
Just a gift, so he threw it adrift and watched it shift
It was just paper, and he knew this--
The rest of it was poetry--
But as he watched it slip
The prose gained potency
Hope rained openly
He turned into nobody, if only briefly
For a cogent moment he could see a rose on the street
But the just-married left quickly and the water drowned them swiftly
Presents suffocate and instants evaporate

People suffocate and intent evaporates
Fate penetrates with steady liquid weight every cursory anniversary
He buys her things:  a cuckoo clock, a shiny ring, a jewelry box,
Time goes on in a steady song, an ever-rising tide
The girl, so strong, is washed along in the surge of tears she cried
She hides the flow of salt-- it was never his fault
The wind blows on its own;
She falls alone

She used to sing and  stretch her wings but then she traded everything
 For a diamond ring, for paper tears, for endless years that wash up in the rain--
The keys to the kingdom.
He folded her a paper plane in hopes she'd fly away
He loved that girl with all his heart and couldn't bear her pain
He threw with hope his paper plane and lost it to the rain
Another gift she'd never get
Another day with wings too wet 
She'd never be  quite free again

With every anniversary she had something new to wear
But time stole her vivacity and then her very air
She wore as thin as paper skin
As faint as water stains,
Flooded within by her unhurried hurricane--
Old and cold and racked with pain.
While time consumed her outside
Folded in heavy moments onto her surface
She crumpled like skin
Folded like paper
Disappeared like water vapour

He cried when she died but inside he knew:
His paper crane bride assuredly flew.

The End

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