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Inside

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                      based on photographs from Rural Japan:
                      Radiance of the Ordinary


/ afloat

two boats with no riders
still moving on water
the hulls barely touching
each with a single oar
safely propped
so it won’t fall



/ lotus leaves

close into themselves
at night

on their wide folded backs
water beads

inside, their sleeping
flowers



/ inside

do the carp
just below the water’s stillness
see the pines



/ fall daikon

just pulled from the soil
these pungent roots
hang from bamboo poles
their white tubed bodies
bend as if slightly aroused

each ripe radish will
be drenched
in salt
then eaten raw
all winter



/ lone pine

ancient tree
with so many tongues

how long this throated stem
this stillness before rain

Amy Uyematsu, “Inside” from Stone Bow Prayer. Copyright © 2005 by Amy Uyematsu. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org
Source: Stone Bow Prayer (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)
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Inside

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  • Poet Amy Uyematsu was raised in southern California by parents who had been interned in American camps during World War II. She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles.
     
    Uyematsu’s poems consider the intersection of politics, mathematics, spirituality, and the natural world. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Stone Bow Prayer (2005), Nights of Fire, Nights of Rain (1997), and 30 Miles from J-Town (1992), which won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize.
     
    Uyematsu co-edited the seminal anthology Roots: An Asian American Reader (1971), and her own work has been included in the anthologies Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California (2008, edited by Christopher Buckley and Gary Young), The Misread City: New Literary Los Angeles (2003, edited by Scott Timberg and Dana Gioia), and Sister Stew: Fiction and Poetry by Women (1991, edited by Juliet Kono...

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