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Al Ortolani: Paper Birds Don’t Fly

Last night I had a dream

that my father, six years

dead now, left me a message

folded into some kind of origami bird.

He left another for my sister.

I guessed since we were the oldest

of his children, he had

expected us to join him sooner.

There was a girl in the dream,

maybe a younger sister, maybe

a little dead girl sent as a messenger.

I don’t know how these things work.

Sitting at the table with the paper birds,

she unfolded mine and began to read.

I couldn’t make out a word

she was saying. I took the note

from her hand and his handwriting blurred

like a camera lens losing focus.

I woke in frustration, trying to will

myself back into sleep

into the dream of my father

where I was sure he’d tried

to cross over

like he had so many times

when he was living.


Copyright 2021 Al Ortolani. First published in Rattle.

Al Ortolani’s many books include Hansel and Gretel Get the Word on the Street (Rattle, 2019)

One comment on “Al Ortolani: Paper Birds Don’t Fly

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    December 8, 2021

    ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on December 7, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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