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Organogenesis
for S.I.

An axolotl can lose any limb without scarring on skin at the site of amputation. Every tissue is
replaced, regenerating jaw and crushed spinal cord and missing brain a hundred perfect times,
and yet my lover is still gone.

Every spring, a deer must shed antlers used for fighting and each bone branch grows back with
the thought of my partner’s return this season, and yet.

Cut off the arm of any sea star. It takes only one central nerve string intact for the entire body to
grow back, but what use is the rest of me if you are not here to touch?

These worms split and become two. Who knew that clocks could cut with every tick, and yet.

 


 

Barrier Defense System

It’s really just a chain-link fence. Better than open air or an imagined red marker border squiggling across the peninsula. Better than building a Berlin Wall. No harm or offense to armistice regulations. Concrete is just another problem no one wants. Out and in a matter of perspective, depending on which direction your feet face. Just like that, we made the land ring with some signal driving deep as we could go, the same Morse repeating. Even through gloves, my hands puffed pink and raw from vibrations up the handle, every pocket in the earth we created somehow resisting incursion by sending some shock back. Maybe a message telling us to stop. I imagined balancing on a picket with one foot and somehow being able to leap on each one like a temporary stilt, running my way back to where we started in a careful balance through air. Maybe even knocking each one down as I passed by. They didn’t look like we put them there. At least, the ache in me didn’t want to look back and see the evidence of my work. They looked more like they were coming up through the earth, sprouting into a row of iron stems waiting to blossom wire vines and unveil the finale of their growth: the concertina rose meant to cut any lover daring to get too close.

 

Joseph Han was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. He is the author of a poetry chapbook, Orphan (Tinfish Press 2015). His recent work has appeared in Entropy, AAWW’s The Margins, The Feminist Wire, and Bamboo Ridge Press. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa, where he teaches creative writing and composition.

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