top of page
Pink Photo Anthology Reed_edited.jpg

Paper Chrysalis

A collection of poetry and visual art by Brianna G. Reed

Institution Story
An Erasure Poem
Instittution Story - Reed.png

Paper Wings

After Heather Cahoon 

His          as yours is       a paper wing           

     un      folding


seemingly suspended

amid                 catch and release:


        You know his origami heart

quietly              unfurling in fields

made paper burn

from pinecones to thistle

his white whaled wings      finning

above you

      his knife-edged neck         cranes

skyward              taking    haphazard flight


from whispering reeds        before turning

to you-


     reciprocal retinas reveal

his               as yours is            a paper wing

un   folding               seemingly suspended

           amid                       catch and release. 

Origami Hummingbird Reed 2_edited.jpg

Paper Bombs, Paper Bridges

A blank page can play an important role; it can be a bridge. -Arthur Sze

The weekend has seen us all unfurl

into blank pages crumpling

one after another, catching flame mid-air,

a deck of cards catching matchstick flames.

Look outside                 I can prove it

snow-ash has cloaked a grey summer

as the emergence of spring,  

chokes on amber cloud-edges.


My blank pages ache to overflow beyond my margins

to bleed black into blue     to fill

whole journals when I am stumbling stupefied on apostrophes

                                                                         caroming commas

                                                                                   & period pauses

                                                                                        smoldering in the furnace of my belly.


I’ll cut her right in her face she screams on paper / screens of paper fights like I am / a paper girl in a paper house / burning within long silences /  lengthening like blankpage pauses lingering / a bursting dam that could extinguish / their wild mouth-fires / that I could never burn / their paper houses down / I could build them / when I have always wanted my words to flow like water from faucets never knowing I could / one day run out, despite desperate twisting wrists / to siphon my rivers  



Blank pages can be a bridge I want to answer, taking aim, firing high.

They can be embers sparking perfectly in a touch of drought,

caressing desert underbrush in howling winds

giving rise to smokeblooms to                                                            mouths holding paper bombs.


Break into my nervous system

    soften sickle-sweet syringes






                       into convalescent

              bone-bleached blankets

       half-surgeon  |  half-witness.



      Become morphine dripping

  silicone slivered-tubes on skin





                          pour yourself in.



       Pry nightfall from fingertips

     like gauze-flowers unsticking

                    from suture-meshed




                                    then dress

                                  will it hurt?

                 I want to ask yet can’t


                   before slipping away

              tracheal trauma trembles

remembering how once, we were

                            two hawkmoths

                             powdering into

                                  midnight air



           how, now, the wind stings 

                           sharp as solvent,

                                    now, even



                                         to taste

                                       like you.

Red Paper Moon FINAL image REED.jpg
Sister Seeds Final Reed.jpg
Reed Cloud Image_edited.jpg

Brianna G Reed is the Diné author of various short stories and essays that have appeared within Leonardo and the Tribal College Journal. Raised in Hope Mills, North Carolina, she now studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts. You can listen to her current column, "Moccasin Millennial," serialized in podcasts at

bottom of page