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Friday, March 18, 2011

A Thousand Cranes for Japan

It's hard not to get whiplash this week, switching between disasters in Japan and the revolution in Libya. My heart still sends up many prayers to suffering Japan. Japan has a tradition of making paper cranes for luck, a tradition that found its way into one of my poems. Here's to recovery in Japan:

At the Thousand Cranes Auto Repair

The women were making and the men waiting
in the room provided. Folding a square piece of gold,
the Japanese woman looked up from behind
her sunglasses and said: A thousand paper cranes.
For a party. For luck. The men’s eyes
fuzzed and snapped: NO TALKING to strangers
during auto repair. A woman with a fan of years
on her forehead moved across the space
to sit beside the folder, pleating the room.
Another question launched the tale
of the last thousand cranes, made at a dying
grandmother’s bedside. (Hers? Mine?
This woman might appear someday at your bed—
for luck, she would say) Everyone was listening
openly now. Their necks leaned in parallel.
Feet dropping down, they flew on story currents
and watched being after being take shape
and rise from luck-bending, blind invention’s
darting, dark skinned fingers.

-- Rachel Dacus
(originally published in Stirring)