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A Study in Reverse Origami (VIDEO)




I was born with a last name

and all the expectations that

came with it


from birth, I was crafted

to be an origami swan


to have perfectly folded edges

to exist on a shelf

to be looked at from a distance

to appear complete

to live precisely


I tried to live that way

~ I swear I did


for so so so long

I would resist the urge to

let go of the form

I was told to live by


they said my happiness

would be directly tied to how

impeccably I held my shape


they said that if I could show

any blemishes or faults if I

wanted to be honored


even during the days

when I could feel the

geometry inside of me

start to become wild poetry


I stayed as folded

as I could


despite the growing

sound of crinkling paper

coming from inside of my

loose leaf heart


~ I clung to my folds


one morning

- not too long ago


I woke up and I noticed that my perfectly

shaped swan wings had a wrinkle in it


I tried to hide my imperfection

from the world by only letting

people see my good side


my faultless side

my seamless side


a short while later I noticed

that my other wing had lost

its tight fold and was curling outward


I was coming

undone and unfolded

right in front of the world


the rest of me

started falling

apart soon after


within a short time

I no longer looked

like a perfect swan


I had become a flattened out piece

of paper with more crows-feet

creases in my form than I could count


eventually, a breeze came

and took me off of my shelf

and carried me out of the window

into the untamed wild


it was that moment


when I was my most unfurled self

that I called out to God


“where are my perfect folds?

where have my straight lines gone?”

I asked the empty sky


God spouted out of the ground

next to me in the form of a wildflower


“they are gone, my love,

all those things you once

thought you were are now gone”


I cried


“why are you crying?” God asked while stretching out above me with flower petals of at least a half-dozen colors that had never seen before from the safe shelf I had lived most of my life from.


“because without my folds and lines that I was given I have no purpose,” I sobbed. “Without my hard edges and defined creases I don’t know who I am anymore.”


“I do,” God said while exploding into an Easter bloom.


I held my breath.


“You finally get to be you. You are now an untouched canvas who decides what it gets to be marked with. You are lucky enough to be a piece of blank paper that gets to choose what is written on it. You get to be a selection of art that you get to help create. You are now able to leave behind the expectations this world has for you to be perfect - and now you get to become whatever you want to be.”


God was now a towering wildflower that was riding up to kiss the sun.


“Oh,” I replied while looking at myself with new eyes.


Instead of being tightly bound together, I was now an outstretched creation. Instead of being a perfect sculpture, I was an open hand.


“What now?” I asked the wildflower of God.


“What now?” God laughed. “Anything. Everything. It’s all in front of you. It’s all adventure from here.”


Suddenly a gust of wind picked me up

again and started carrying me to the horizon.


Even though I had been a swan my whole life the first time I ever flew was when I lost my wings.


I smiled.


What an adventure it is to come undone.




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This poem is so timely for me. I’ve been feeling so lost. Not sure of who I am or who I’m supposed to be anymore. I didn’t see this time as a chance to recreate myself without the boundaries and expectations of other. Thank you! I love your words!! I will cherish this poem! ♥️

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beckerphilippa5
beckerphilippa5
Oct 12, 2021

This is a stunning poem. It is breathtaking when you discover that your perfect wings never enabled you to fly. I was unsure whether there is a word missing in this bit: they said that if I could show


any blemishes or faults if I


wanted to be honored

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Doreen Karp
Doreen Karp
Oct 06, 2021

I loved reading A Study in Reverse Origami!! I believe there is a lot of truth in your writing! Thank you for sharing your beautiful works. ❤️

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