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One of those delicate things—
Japanese folding fan
with zigzag creases and
opens up like a pond lotus
into the shape of a cardioid,
r = 1 – sin θ, 0 ≤ θ ≤ 2π,
stirring in the humid Midwest air
sleepy, slow motion memories of
the summer I lived with
undergraduate calculus,
fretful about the future
and drunk on dreams.
An icon from another world,
image of a leafless
tree branch in the winter
unsymmetrical and gracefully twisted
and the perfect moon a little
to the side, rendered in
calligraphy ink or watercolor
or some other medium that gives
the illusion of bleeding.
It’s the heart of geisha era Kyoto
translated into English
a time when they achieved
the ultimate artistic rendition
of human souls and the flesh,
draped in painted silk,
danced to epiphanies in the
whispering glow of lanterns
and breathed in moments that spoke
to painters in alluring tongues
of the unpaintable


“Frozen Leaf” by photographer Simon


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