As Us

A Space for Women of the World

Karen An-hwei-Lee – Poetry

A Thousand Healing Birds

I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world. – Sadako Sasaki (1943-1955) 

Fold a thousand origami cranes.  A wish will come true.  
I was only a mile from zero when the atom bomb fell.
I cannot remember wishing for peace or deliverance.

Neither one transpired, however --                                          
while history still looks like this. 

economic recession                            this led to hysteria           
competition over resources                    this led to genocide
conflict over territories                     this led to civil war
scapegoating                                  this led to genocide
assassination of a leader                     this led to war
civil war                                     this led to famine
famine and national unrest                    this led to war
war hysteria                                  this led to internment
imperialism                                   this led to fascism
fascism                                       this led to genocide
genocide                                      this led to war again
the world imploded                            a short-lived peace

Now I return in a dream to exhume a thousand paper cranes 
buried in my casket, starting with the gold one  
my friend Chizuko made.
In this new millennium, what shall I write on their wings?
Contributor’s Notes:

Karen An-hwei Lee HeadShotKaren An-hwei Lee is an Asian American poet living and teaching in greater Los Angeles.  She is the author of three poetry collections:  *Phyla of Joy* (Tupelo 2012), *Ardor* (Tupelo 2008), and *In Medias Res* (Sarabande 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America.  She dwells at the boundaries of many tongues.

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Issue 3February 14th, 2014
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As Us Indigenous Women’s Literary Journal

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