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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2015 - Vol. 12, Issue 2

"Tissue Paper"

written by

R.J. Cook

It is a horrible thing to give voice to what I wish for most.

Dreams are carefully folded tissue paper,

squirrelled and saved.

Many sheets fit, closeted away,

but the weight flattens the oldest, most delicate, to cobwebs.


Candles blown, a wish made,

another tissue layer added to the closet.

Everything stays the same, expecting different:

Peeling a stored layer up, sharing the vision is a kind of madness.


I sit.

They stand.

The light's edge casts different shadows on the tissue.

The paper's swirls flatten,

the colors darken at the light's whim.

The heart of the dream is lost,

but neither knows,

because each will never be as the other is.


No one sees the light through the tissue paper.

Both must join to illuminate the dream as I see it.

But standing, they focus on the gossamer color

or the edge of light before prism-break.

They stand, holding the tissue to the setting sun, squinting,

looking for the microcosm.

Muting the four corners,

the center,

the splendor.


Someday will the tissue bring us spirit to spirit,

or at least eye to eye?

It moves across any boundary

but can colors, shapes, vision ever be seen the same?

Wispy, the tissue still changes possibility, just enough.


Or will the tissue rip in careless hands?


So the tissues molder,

Away from the light.


R.J. Cook is a Minnesota native with Cerebral Palsy.

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