Paper Airplanes and Other Crumpled Ideas


United States
28° 4' 7.0212" N, 97° 32' 47.0004" W
United States
28° 4' 7.0212" N, 97° 32' 47.0004" W

“America”, an unspoken word,

appeared like a shadow,

only existed on the lips of foreigners.

“America” smelled of ashes

as the whisper floated from my parents room, 

and the ghostly figure shrouded

my shaking limbs in a black veil.

At the age of four and a quarter

it finally seeped from my tongue,

and soaked me in a throbbing pain,

as the accidental word fabricated a reality.


I folded a paper airplane that day,

December 12, 2002, set for departure at 3:00 a.m.,

its wings bent into precise triangle creases.

I envisioned being seated by the edge,

gaping out at remnants of inflated clouds,

swept behind my paper window.

A surreal sky floated beneath,

salt water air fused with the wisps

of my tender thoughts,

but four hours later, that flight

of imagination skidded to a landing.


I trudged through the tin tunnel,

linking Past to uncertain Future.

I was swallowed by the jet’s cockpit;

and the paper airplane withered to dust.

I sat, confined, cinched in a harness, 

the vaporous thoughts of my dear country

diminishing before me.

The air grew bitter with every meter,

and the word “America” froze blue

between my throat and lips.

My soul hovered, suspended from its body,

and like a paper airplane,

crumpled to the earth.


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