The house spent on transpacific flights

pass like a sandstorm through the Kazakh steppes,

lodging a single grain—an irritant

to memory—within the furrowed cortex.

Nacred by revolving doubt, it grows

a pearl as black as the ocean depths

and lustrous as the moon

through sublimated ice.


This pearl outlives its host—and can be bought

in Shanghai, from an unassuming shop

on the French Concession’s western edge.

The jeweler plucks it from a velvet box

and cups the pearl like a Dramamine

in the hollow of her outstretched palm.

She stands like that, expectantly,

revolving shapes to come.

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