Woman at Pottery Shop Gift Wrapping a Teacup | wisconsinacademy.org
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Woman at Pottery Shop Gift Wrapping a Teacup

          —Hyogo-ken, June 1991

Because her hands drifted
in a pantomime of flight
rising and floating
in one sweeping arc
unspooling the paper
across the spotless blade
that ran the length of the roll,

because the paper rising
along with her hands
above the wooden counter
was like sign language for kite
enfolding and carrying air until
each perfect crease and corner point
erased the light from cup and box,
her deed became the gift.

The cup still in its box,
the box never unwrapped.
The paper fades
and corners wear.
I see her hands rising,
rising through the air with years.


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Mark Zimmermann is currently working on a book-length poetry manuscript focused on his life in Japan, where he lived from 1990-1991 and 1993-2001.

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