Origami of Shock by Brett Warren

Origami of Shock

The first time was the worst: how graciously
he opened the door to welcome me in,

saying I had just missed them—the figurines
who like to run back and forth across the carpet.

How he made a little running motion
with his fingers, adding that if I’d come earlier,
I’d have seen a tiny version of myself

perched on the bookshelf among knick-knacks
and a fine layer of dust. How his eyes
kept darting over to see if I/she was still there.

How a life-sized version of me began to edge
toward the door, feeling my way along the wall
with my shoulder.

How I couldn’t take my eyes off him,
couldn’t break free from the terrible trance
of his smile. How the thing

that brought me back was my left hand,
which had been in my coat pocket

the whole time, folding a grocery list
into smaller and smaller squares.


Brett Warren is the author of The Map of Unseen Things (forthcoming from Pine Row Press). She is a long-time editor whose poetry has appeared in Canary, The Comstock Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, Hole in the Head Review, Cape Cod Poetry Review, and many other publications. She lives in Massachusetts, in a house is surrounded by pitch pine and black oak trees—nighttime roosts of wild turkeys, who sometimes use the roof of her writing attic as a runway. brettwarrenpoetry.com