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 And so I look back
still thinking of her
with painful heart,
this clench of inner flesh.
—Kakinomoto Hitomaro from Manyoshu * Praise the irritant, that genesis, implanted within the soft and malleable animal that bore you.
* Your brethren strung around my neck, dangling from my earlobes.
The imperfections the jeweler slights, I praise.
* Artifact of a biological process, why do we expect symmetry from a grain of sand? * Praise the oblong beauty of you, solidified raindrops, your stony quietude.
* Let me praise the waters that bestow your milky luster, worshipped to ensure a bountiful hunt.
* Manyoshu poems praised the ama, female divers, who collected you, as gently as quail eggs.
* Let me rub you against my teeth to test the veracity of you, roll you around my tongue to weigh your heft.
* The heart clenches, hides its moon among clouds.
Would that I, too, could build a radiant world around a bitter nucleus.

by Bernadette Geyer
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