We are Paper


My five-year-old daughter asked me a few months ago if we were in a story. Of course I told her, “Yes, we are in a story.” I told her everyone’s in a story of some kind.

She must have been thinking about this because she announced yesterday that, ” We are paper. Stories are made of paper, and since we’re a story, we must be made of paper.”

She also told me she was tired of being in a story and didn’t want to be in one anymore. I told her it didn’t quite work like that.

She’ll figure it out, mostly because she has to.

It made me think, though, of all of the elements of stories and of real life. They are the same. Our experience living, even in our imaginations, gives us what we need for our stories. Some writers collect real paper; some writers collect fictional paper.

But in fiction or in real life, red is the same color in all its shades. A banana, or any fruit based on a banana, has the same waxy peel and smooth texture of the meat on your tongue. The velvet of linen paper or the brittle translucence of velum. The rough callous of working hands and the smooth skin of a lover.

The way our eyes reflect candlelight.

Yes, we are paper. We have everything we need at our fingertips to fight dragons, cross the desert, and dip our toes in the murky waters of a European river.

So, what are we waiting for?

Poetry Poker Deal Mixed Decks: grasp, taste, alive, issue, guardian

We are Paper
We are now
Our linen faces alive and smooth
While we grasp what comes at midday
In commercial brand ink
We are yesterday
Guardians of the candlelight
Cast on our crisp parchment thoughts
As we taste the blood on our quill
We are tomorrow
Our eyes turned back and in
As we ignore the forward issues
And pretend we have digital skin
We are paper
Words of admiration and condemnation
Become too lofty and we forget
That we are really so very, very thin

Also posted at The Poetry Cafe.

Please post your poem version of this thought or this deal in the comments and share!

3 thoughts on “We are Paper

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