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17 Lovely Blades

I have been cutting myself lately with Japanese syllabic verse.
Drawing the cutting slope of Mount Fuji across my arm, red drops bead
in the parchment snow. I do not do this for your attention.
That would cheapen the verse--a disservice to both moth and temple bell.
The cutting and the pain help me remember--encode in flesh each word,
before the poet's crystal moment evaporates like frozen dew.
I fear I make the verse self-referential, involve myself too much,
threading my fluids with the pristine field of snow at night, mixing blood
and moon, tainting the writer's words with crimson. Even cherry blossoms
are unimaginably sharp--a gasp, one falls. I stop its descent,
savoring its edges, so sharp one might miss them as they break the skin.
Let me show you the scars left by the iron gate outside the temple.
I did not break the silence, except to draw my breath, as the echo
of the shutting gate became a part of me--a wound that will not fade.

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