A Thousand Paper Cranes
They say Sadako had only made 644
when the sickness took her,
purple spots carpeting her limbs
and curling behind her ears like tsutsuji blossoms.
Now she stands peacefully in Hiroshima Park,
her bronze arms raised to the sky.
her mother called it.
Passing under Vauxhall Railway Bridge,
I ask myself
how many trudge through the lamplit puddles,
broken glass, and scree of takeaways with their eyes raised?
How many will see your little hanging flock, pathetically white
amid the drizzle and the thunder of trains overhead?
I wonder, as you make your thick fingers
a vengeful nest of paper cuts,
what is it you feel
you are atoning for?
As you sit folding and stringing in the dark,
who is it you are trying to save?
The Night Grace Tries To Teach Me To Waltz
I’m half drunk and heartsore. I stumble, feet bare on the damp grass.
The wrong kind of music sweats from the golden house
and I laugh with wet cheeks while attempting to dance.
Her long fingers are ivory keys on my spine. She seems calm.
I’m coarse and I’m awkward, and then I am lifted
like a sad offering to the sky,
streamers of cloud in my hair when I land again.
She gives up after that, and we lie cheek to cheek on the lawn,
counting stars like blessings.
Later, the noisy world will rise up in its tide of mistakes,
and somewhere near my heart I’ll hear her steady count.
One two three, one two three, one two three.
Jen Feroze lives by the sea in Essex, UK. Her work has recently appeared in publications including Poetry Wales, Dust, One Hand Clapping and Stone Circle Review, and is forthcoming in Stanchion and Magma. Her debut pamphlet, Tiny Bright Thorns, will be published by Nine Pens Press later this year.