from Seamless

The art of _tebori_
is carving by hand
with bundles of needles and
charcoal ink
the living canvas. It is this
scalped beauty which hangs
in Japanese museums
when it outlasts its bowing
Outside my window is a rat grown
flatter and wider under traffic
all week toward the point where its
encompassing more of the road loses
all semblance of rat.
He could be a glove missing
its match. Across the city
a hand clenches
like a wet animal
seeking cover.
After the fire, a man waits
for his autograft: pink likeness
of half his neck and face.
“It’s a work in progress,”
reports his doctor. “It must
take to the scaffolding.”
The burned man imagines
tall buildings and armies
of climbing masons. A green wind
bends the bamboo.
He is grateful to Science
the way a fish climbs
a ladder to a dammed river.
It will contain him
is all.
Translucent is the fineness
of my son’s dance down the hall,
the bath still glowing
within him.
My grandmother,
whose skin is like butter,
wears gloves to handle dishes.
All the breakable things
which cannot be grasped.

fn0. 3rd Prize, Poem of the Year Contest 2007
_Arc_ 59, Winter 2008

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