unfolded, a gift

September 26th, 2013

Martin_Creed,_Work_No._340_A_Sheet_of_paper_folded“There is something in me maybe someday 
to be written; now it is folded, and folded, 
and folded, like a note in school.”
― Sharon Olds

by Jena Strong

Every line on my face is a place I unfolded,
no longer compressed, no longer needing
to contain mystery after mystery,
no longer a matryoshka doll holding itself
in and in and in, kaleidoscopically hidden.
No, life has unfolded my careful origami,
like a middle or third name
too beautiful for the world not to hear,
each deep crevice a hint of healing
and heartache and hero’s journey.
It’s old-school, to remain folded up
like that, or to collapse like a mountain
unto itself, or to get so lost
in the folds of what happened
that you can no longer make out
the writing on the wall of your life,
which is to say how blue the sky is
in September, how kindly she caresses
the deep grooves between your eyes,
folded notes to be passed to a friend
between classes, perhaps—or birds
or buildings or an architecture
defying smooth textures. Let me be
creased, then, unfolded as a piece
of paper you’ve tucked inside
the pages of a heavy hardcover for years,
stumbled upon, blank, and fluently speaking
in a language you didn’t even know you knew.
A gift on the first day of my fifty-eighth year.

Art by Martin Creed, “Work No. 340: A sheet of paper folded up and unfolded,” 2004.


  1. I will tape this beautiful poem on my 71 year old “mirror, mirror on the wall”. Thank you for passing on the gift Karen………..

    Comment by Daisy Marshall — September 26, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

  2. Happy birthday Karen. You are always an inspiration.

    Comment by ranya — September 26, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

  3. Happy birthday!
    And september (over here) is such a beautiful month with it’s golden light, you are so lucky. I hope you get to feel very love(d) today.
    I never knew folding paper could be an artform. I love to fold paper.
    Have a wonderful day!

    Comment by Simone — September 27, 2013 @ 1:22 am

  4. Happy Happy Birthday!

    Comment by marcea — September 27, 2013 @ 1:24 am

  5. […] Maezen’s blog to read the […]

    Pingback by Libra Love | Jena Strong — September 27, 2013 @ 5:05 am

  6. A reason to celebrate, indeed–the gift of you and your light in this world. Happiest of birthdays to you.

    Comment by denise — September 27, 2013 @ 6:49 am

  7. Happy birthday to you my fellow Libra! Love these lines and love knowing that I’m exactly a week behind you on the birthday calendar. May your 58th year be full of blessings.

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — September 27, 2013 @ 7:23 am

  8. a poem, like music, can go directly to the heart, to the spirit, to the center of us all this one is beautiful and touched me deeply

    thanks for sharing and sharing your birthday with us

    Comment by daniel — September 27, 2013 @ 9:48 am

  9. Maezen,

    58 trips around the brightest star in our galaxy – remarkable!

    Comment by Melissa — September 27, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  10. Happy Birthday! Love this and so happy to truly understand it.

    Comment by kelly — September 29, 2013 @ 8:50 am

  11. Birthday Blissings to you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift for us all to treasure. My catch-up blog reading is proving rich indeed. Warm Spring wishes from the great southern land.

    Comment by Chris — October 7, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

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