It was a long bus ride from Michigan to DC
For a peace rally
Several days of endless miles
It was 1984 and
The Ribbon Project had
People from around the world
Create three-foot by two-foot banners
Of what we could not bear to think of
As lost forever in a Nuclear War
We would tie them together and form a ribbon and human chain
Around the White House
The U.S. Capitol Building
And the Pentagon

What we didn’t know then
But were soon to learn
So many people arrived
That the ribbon wrapped around
These buildings twice

A young girl, Rose
Sat beside me one day on the bus
And taught me how to fold origami cranes

As we folded cranes
she wove her directions
In with the story of Sadako
A young Japanese girl
Who had been exposed to radiation
From the bombs on Hiroshima
During World War II
Sadako began folding 1,000 cranes
While she lay sick in the hospital
In the hopes of making a wish
For survival
For healing from the
Cancer that threatened her life
But she died before her 1,000 were completed

And others in her village folded them
With a wish of peace and healing

Strings of cranes hang around
The neck of a statue likeness of Sadako
In the Peace Park in Hiroshima today
In the hopes that we will never forget

Rose said that each time
I teach others how to fold a crane
I need to tell them the story of Sadako
And urge them to pay it forward

In the nearly 40 years
Since Rose taught me
I’ve honored her wish
Every single time

Jennifer Gurney lives in Colorado where she teaches, paints, writes and hikes. She is a newly published poet with nearly 300 poems published in 2022 and 2023. Jennifer’s poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Ravens Perch, HaikUniverse, Haiku Corner, Cold Moon Journal, Scarlet Dragonfly and The Haiku Foundation.