A Completely Scientific Report on the Anatomy of Origami Penguins

His name is Edwin and I bent his right wing the wrong way by accident and now he looks nothing like the picture but Edwin doesn’t seem to mind because he’s a flightless bird and what do they need wings for anyway except to swim but Edwin’s made of paper and has a healthy fear of watching his body dissolve into nothing but pulp around him in the ocean though he’s never actually seen an ocean just my kitchen table and the glass of water sitting half full by the stack of colored paper and I wonder if he ever has nightmares about the ocean if he uses the crease in his wing as a party trick if he calls himself the first double-jointed penguin in the world.

I drew his eyes on crooked just two black dots one higher than the other one the size of Jupiter after eating a hearty meal of meteorites and moondust but Edwin doesn’t seem to mind and for a second I swear I saw them smiling like he was remembering his time spent face down flat in that origami box for months like flat flat and is just now seeing the light from the dining room chandelier reflecting off of my refrigerator and thinks it’s the sun either that or he’s squinting but nowhere are there instructions on making glasses for penguins and Edwin’s too small to fit in mine.

I don’t know how the penguin in the picture breathes with that tiny triangle between its perfectly round eyes that probably have 20/20 vision lucky bird Edwin’s beak sticks out too far and looks exactly like a carrot if carrots were sharp like a toothpick at the end gray two-dimensional but Edwin doesn’t seem to mind because maybe he can smell better the blurred ink on my fingers the lines of purple popsicle dripping down my sister’s hands the three pink smudges of carnations all the way in the dining room barely staying alive in the lukewarm water he can’t touch.

I can’t see his heart since it’s inside of his body but I assume Edwin has a pretty big one that keeps a steady rhythm but sometimes goes too fast when he thinks about the penguin in the pictures buh-dum-buh-dum-buh-dum but Edwin doesn’t seem to mind and I consider for a minute folding him a bright red candy box heart but then he’d quite literally be wearing his heart on his sleeve of the striped knit shirt I never made him to keep him warm in the winter.

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