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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Beverly Acuff Momoi

On Saturday Sophie Tests the Validity of Crumple Theory


At first, the woman just crumples the most crossed-over, crossed-out pieces and only after working in the margins and between the lines. She soft-lobs them Sophie's way so they land just under her nose. When more than a few accumulate, the woman becomes possessed, making fewer and fewer marks before crushing and re-crushing them until they emerge as some new kind of origami.

cherry blossoms –
what could possibly be said
that hasn't been?

Paper balls knock each other aside like pins in a bowling alley, but Sophie doesn't move. It takes a certain kind of confidence to remain relaxed in the face of repeated assault, but every morning she prepares for occasions such as this, turning on a dime at the sound of the neighbor's dog. She never knows when the silly nuisance will start, so it becomes her practice – its yapping, her prompt – to leap from bookcase to counter to the top of the kitchen cabinets, permitting herself no more than four jumps, preening when she makes it in three.

blocked
by the bravura
of the big leaf maple

Now the paper is a wall around her, and the woman is muttering. This is the tipping point, and Sophie scoots slowly away, taking one, then another, lip curled around the edge, careful not to drool or smear margins. Back in her bed, surrounded by a dozen drafts, she begins.

all the fallen leaves
hard to imagine the tree
young and green

Batting one to the front, she notes how it catches the air, how long it stays aloft, how hard it lands. Then she smoothes it out until she has an almost flat, failed poem. Nose to paper, she examines the bond, the color of the ink, the sureness of the strokes. How many smudges? Number of cross-outs? Intersections of wrinkles and tear stains? She moves to the next, again and again, until she has a dozen sheets stacked between her paws. She stands, yoga-stretches her back like Rodney Yee, and circles, pawing until she has a crazy quilt of crossed-out lines and crumpled words. Then she sits tall, tail curving, tip keeping an errant piece in place.

no wrinkle repeats
in crumple theory
every one is different




crane