“The maid of pearl and ambergris came from
a spiced Sea: borne, thick in the blubber of a sperm whale
for nineteen summers, she fed on expectations
and, in sleep, sipped the putrid waters of man’s
sensually satisfying murks.
Upon her twenty-first, the maid left the chilly
reaches of a snow-white seabed, and stretched far
to the surface- for mortals to explore
and lick the crusty salt festering her fingertips.
But, as her hand felt the searing touch of sunlight,
the filth of mercury mixed sawdust,
the indifferent numb of daily toil and menstrual labor,
body turned to foam, ghost to conception.”
Into my private Seto Naikai
weeds festoon quietly, and shelter is provided
for all pleasures the senses might conceive,
yet too soon the bowl is empty and I
must pay a dear price for emptying that helpless nest.