Origami Crane / Light-Defying Spaceship

Origami Crane / Light-Defying Spaceship
Naru Dames Sundar

Origami crane with big spaceship dreams,
Crisp Japanese paper painted in peonies
Creased into feather and bone and
The absence of feet, with soft bloated corners.
(Because the boy
     with his toffee-sticky fat fingers
          was impatient)

But mountain and valley are not fusion torii
And the field of peonies does not limn starlight.
Marooned on the faded mahogany table
With no hope of sky, dreaming of
Astrogation, nebulae, and the gleam of suns

In its deep paper heart, lantern-bright,
Folds turn into spars, and valleys into engines
And origami crane skitters across galaxies.

Light-defying spaceship with tiny paper dreams,
City-long spars of iron painted in somber gray,
Tessellated into hull and spine and
Geometries sculpted by dead mathematicians.
(Because shipwrights
with their coffee-stained hands     
abjure ornament and gilt)          

But bones of steel are not creases like blades,
And ten clicks of engine do not fit on a single page.
Adrift in the empty, beyond well and orbit,
With no hope of simple pleasures, dreaming of
Mountain, valley, edge and fold.

In its sad metal-clad heart, molten as suns,
Spars turn to folds, and engines into valleys
And light-defying spaceship collapses into a

Tiny yellowed crane, peonies faded,
On a shipwright’s table.


Naru Dames Sundar is a speculative fiction writer who lives in the mountains of Santa Cruz. His work has previously appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Crossed Genres and is forthcoming at Nature:Futures & Strange Horizons.