ISSUE 5 · FALL 2010
Circling of Cranes
CHARLENE LOGAN BURNETT
The child’s chair faces the wall,
a paper mural: pagoda, weeping
willows, wooden footbridge,
sacred cranes in scarlet stockings,
standing on one foot in an ink-blue stream.
Behind her, the girl’s mother stirs
a sauce over the stove, still it burns.
Her father drinks another beer.
Her sister piles stones inside the girl’s pockets,
whispering they are now hers to keep.
It is said of the crane, if you ask him,
he will carry across migratory oceans
smaller birds, the souls of the dead, a lost maiden
folded between the scapulas of his wings.
The girl asks the crane a question.
He rises, his eight-foot wingspan
shuddering the walls.
That night, she places the stones, one by one,
inside the top drawer of her dresser.
She opens the window. Outside,
above the first hush of frost,
cranes circle, calling, calling.
Climbing onto the windowsill,
wearing scarlet socks, she leaps.
Charlene Logan Burnett earned a B.A. in Creative Writing/Theatre from Wellesley College and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from the UC Davis . In 2006, she was awarded a fellowship at The MacDowell Colony. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Literary Mama, Loch Raven Review, Modern Dog, and Nerve Cowboy. After working for many years as a senior writer at a law school, Charlene retired and is now working part time for a veterinarian. Her blog, Homesteading the Seam, chronicles (sporadically) her quest to find a simpler life so she can do the writing that feeds her spirit.