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Fourth Decade

Perhaps it doesn’t matter what’s in my hands, but how my hands hold

Poetry | Zuihitsu
April 15, 2022

This piece is part of the 随筆 | Zuihitsu notebook, which features original art by Satsuki Shibuya.

Days carousel, clumsy with worry. What else to do but show up 
for friends—hello, loved ones. I come with apples.

I heard somewhere that human cells regenerate every seven years, head to toe. 
A new self. But that’s a lie.

On my right butt cheek, a birthmark. Dark brown on light brown. 

Sometimes when I shower, I kiss my own shoulder without thinking.
Why wait for someone else?

I carry much from before: a scar below my lip, appetite for incense at sundown, 
a tendency to say yes when I mean to say no.

The carton of organic milk in the fridge won’t expire for another two months.
Americans live longer and longer. 

Do I want a durable shelf life? 

On the podcast, a pop psychologist markets friendship as the latest public health intervention. 

Alone the other day, I ate a rotten blueberry, and it tasted good. 

Perhaps it doesn’t matter what’s in my hands, but how my hands hold
a pen, a flower stem, a lover’s wrist.

To have a past—not one—but two and more—and still feel you are beginning.

Body flashes with announcements:
A pop in my knee. A hiss down my wrist. Percussions of doubt. A pang of faith.

Doesn’t the holy book say this is the era: “And now, [s]he reaches [full] strength
in the fortieth year.” (Qur’an 46:15)

Yes, I can hear you, body—can you hear me?