[A writer finds he has no words]

A writer finds he has no words
for what is rising in his gorge,
that he wears small pieces of the dead
like jade rings in his body.
Once held to cure side pains,
the stones, like so many things,
are now mere ornaments.
So too with words, some precious
symbols lying in dormition,
dying in their sleep. He longs
for the soft, greasy touch of pigments,
seminal virtue; he imagines paper
like hair, a distillate. The page
must open like the lidded flesh.
The mandala is an imperfect symbol,
and this novena must end.

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