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Paper Cranes, a Poem by Jeff William Acosta

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

None knows how I like to sleep at night

even our mom who would say to you: ‘Your kuya sleeps

like a baby, all curled up from his head to his toes,

sucking his thumb comfortably.’

no. she was lying

already in the bed and I was still preparing to fold

my body, from edge to edge

—my obsession. I learned in my 20’s

to contort and make my failures

into thousand creases, a thousand ill

-advised carvings of constant folding and flipping.

in this chasm between my eyes

forming thousands of paper cranes, all cooped up

on my belly like flies attending a supper

off of a freshly dead body, beneath the teeth

of men that made our father’s

knees sink in an ink-black mud

like it was his last confession.

the way Stephen knelt and let Paul throw stones

at his head while still believing

that God would save him

from the flies that are already there, sniffing

at their next prey.


Jeff William Acosta is a Filipino poet from Ilocos Sur, Philippines. His works have appeared in Vox Populi, Revolt Magazine, Lumiere Review, and others. Find him at


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