Paper Ariel

by Andrea M. Newton

Slender fingers, niveous skin,
and painted oval of fingernail
fold paper over and over.
Crease and curve become a boat
handed with care to other fingers,
as slender and as white,
but trembling in giddy expectation
of water caressing foolscap
as it glides across a silver glass,
then disappears in distance,
and, in time, to the bottom of the sea.

Again, trembling fingers hold lightly
to the body of a boat,
but feet rest on the wooden deck,
and eyes skim the words of Sophocles
as well as the distant horizon.
On shore, different eyes watch the craft,
no more stable than a paper boat,
and hands tremble in fearful expectation
as it disappears in distance
and the veiling black of clouds
and the slicing cold of rain
and, in time, to the bottom of the sea.