by Kasey Jueds

12th Century Japanese paper making technique

First the pan
filled with water,
the ink added.
Before this, desire

without form,
leaves dissolving
at the bottom of a pond.

Then, to collect
oil, a bamboo skewer
drawn through
the hair. How silent
sometimes, the body
in its making.

Touched to
the water’s surface, oil
disperses the ink. From
the skewer’s tip: blue
in radiant waves.

In the pond’s deep, leaves
becoming silk
speak their own
language. Wait

here, hand
suspended above
the inky pan, before
dipping the paper.
Before you see the shape
you have made of me.



Kasey Jueds is the author of Keeper (University of Pittsburgh Press), winner of the 2012 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Some of her recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Salamander, and sidereal. She lives in Philadelphia.