California Origami Paper
Today, I take my heart and wrap it up in origami paper
I make a dipping bird shaped like desire and wishes, I sing and dance
with it, letting it lie flatly on my palm. Tomorrow, I will take my dipping bird
and wrap it up in origami paper. I’ll lift my creation toward the limelight.
It will burn slowly, slowly, like a crane landing on a tree at dusk.
If it takes a thousand years to make a heart out of origami paper,
I’ll try it every day, every morning, every night, just to get the beak right,
just to make the wings as vast as redness. I’ll make hearts out of paper
every day, morning, and night, until the sky is filled with streaks of lukewarm heat.
My heart is made out of origami paper; it rips easily, it tears like old photographs.
One day, my heart will burn in the hillside of Pasadena. I’ll walk to the hills with my songs,
my dances, the memories of my people who travel to California on boats and legs.
We’ll sing a kundiman to the sea and forget that our hearts are no longer here, no longer anywhere.
We’ll lift our hearts lift to the sky and tell God our hearts are now made of origami paper.
We’ll forget how to make dipping cranes and paper birds, forget the redness in our chests. But we’ll sing.
We have hearts of origami paper. We’re home.
Today, I walk to the hillside with my paper heart. It’s on fire, it’s dipping into dusk.
Tomorrow, I’ll wrap it up with grass from the hills, to prolong the burning.
I’ll lift my hands to the sky, singing alone in the center of the sun.