Poem | Harnidh Kaur

 All life born of the sea by Bill Angus

Instruction Manual: Paper Rose

Hold her pressed between your
fingers, index and thumb slowly
ironing away all the creases, kinks,
and loose strings, squeeze down
from head to toe, wiping away the
viscera that flows from her mouth
as you smoothen out her insides
to create a sleek ribbon coloured
with bile, blood, and expectations;
Start folding her inwards, first in
half, then in fourths, perpendicular
overlaps that douple up, double over,
turn up, turn under, and gather in
an accordion bunch held in your
palm, pinch down tightly, make sure
all pleats and ruffles are defined
and smooth- pull one edge of her
bunched up dreams, and carefully
drag her out till it takes shape, elbows
and clavicles sticking out at soft
angles, and in softer shades- stick a
little splinter right up her middle,
skewering her through to hold it up
straight, along with some leaves of
fig, sticking them to her, each one with
a commandment written on it, overlap
upon overlap till you can’t see her,
but just a paper rose that never wilts.

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