An ancient Japanese legend held that a wish would be granted to anyone who folded a thousand paper cranes. A young girl named Sadako Sasaki, stricken with leukemia from the bombing of Hiroshima, spent hours on her deathbed folding paper cranes.

One by one they fall
like little bent feathers
from the tips of her fingers,

gathering like snowfall
till her bed is lined
by a flightless white flock.

With two tiny mirages
of gauzy wings flapping
burnt onto her irises,

she waits in quiet resolve
for the cranes to lift her
in a chorus across the sky.