paper cranes

The path folds into itself,
an origami of leaf mold and gravel.
Its edges drift into stiff hedges of
deep dried grass,
shifting ever so slightly in the spring breeze-
fluttering like paper,
paper cranes
that fold their wings
and unfurl to fly.

Someone once folded a thousand cranes,
a symbol of peace or redemption or grace,
I forget which.
These cranes took flight
and flew with ibis and stork,
heron and egret,
until the fragile paper wings drifted slowly,
silently
into the flame,
consumed.

All that was left
was an origami of ash
for me to shovel into the garden
and work into the soil
to feed the roots
and nourish our souls,
with peace or redemption
or grace.

*** For Hiroshima Day of Remembrance, a poem written several years ago.