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Three poems by Sophia Terazawa

/ Pərˈ(h)aps / preceding us, one ballad to each tongue,
oh, / ‘absəˌlōō(y)tlē /, we refrained from singing

Testimony [“Absolutely Virtuous”]

                              MODERATOR: Can you tell us—

               Yes. The absolution of a virtue must  begin  with concrete, oak, and
               textured pronouns—we, beginning as a layout,  mounds of dirt first
               climbing,  up  then  out,  through military terms—we measure that
               which comes too close to us—that  Hill One-Ninety-Two—in  other
               words, what multiplies our voice  beneath its meter, voices  running
               downhill? How do  trials  make another body absent? Therefore, we
               direct that length of earth through weed then bone, using the meter
               of our killers—a, b, c—you  understand  this,  sir.  Yes,  we  thus  de-
               compose to open  gaps  for breath, to readjust our weight,  to  make
               too monumental—crime, becoming,  finally,  itself  because we said
               it so—women, hunted, were first shot then  stabbed—each comma,
               here, most crucial to our story, hence,  delineating men from action
               during  war—a woman, hunted, was  then  killed  upon another hill.
               These facts are very simple.

Cross-Examination (A.1)

Absolutely, we were frightened by that absence

when / əˈnəTHər / told / ə / story of our mouths

refracting one more / bäm / to harvest pain

upon virtue, alone,
this adjective—and in
some cases, adverb—

what was lost in / ˈsimpəl / terms.

We left without
speaking a word
most commonly
archaic—noun,
that core of

which dropped barrels stuffed with herbicidal rage.

/ Pərˈ(h)aps / preceding us, one ballad to each tongue,

oh, / ‘absəˌlōō(y)tlē /, we refrained from singing.

Exhibit (A.1)

What rooted us the ruby
hardened sphere in fact

before or after

pausing leaving tint
granular dark

around a scar

the woman lifting
up her skirt or saying

it looks bad a little

bad and there’s a
doctor somewhere

who could

look at this
she means if only

guava seed

an older species
turning into grain.