Commas Give Us Pause
Jade trinkets in Korean markets,
Dazzling gemstones in esoteric galleries,
dangling from golden chains.
Nestling among turtles and blossoms
and Buddhas and crosses, a comma.
I paused to question the Korean clerk,
“A comma,” said Mrs. Kim, “ an embryo shape.”
“But why a pendant of that shape?
an ending? a beginning?” asked my
eyebrows as they formed a comma curve.
Her eyebrows arched together,
a sadness curve.
“Han,” she explained, “unfulfill desire,
begin but no continue,
Embryo make mother life die too.”
“Han,” said I, “like the River Han?”
“Yes,” she said, “where they jump and die
with only their dreams.” She nodded.
Without words, her eyebrows spoke more.
Young, without love, but with child,
the comma, pauses two young lives,
An embryo, creation without fruition.
Young girl, unfulfilled desire, “han.”
The jade shape nestled in my hand.
The hard cold shape carved
a chilled space in my palm.
The chill reached my heart.
Curved body, marble head, was that an eye?
Why halt creation so soon
While empty arms long for babies,
and some hearts turn to stone?
A sadness, dark and cold
this rick and poignant tale
of the embryo-comma shape
Embryos sucking life with them,
From creation to Han,
From han to heaven,
It doesn’t need to be.
Creation captures heavenly light,
the gemstone glistened,
carved shape warms in my palm.
I pause to ponder the glowing warmth within.
So many pauses and endings
in my quest for a child.
Endings lead way to new beginnings.
And carved shapes fit in new ways.
My “han” encircled by heavenly light
is like a warm embrace
among an embryo-babe, a young mom, and me.
The carved pieces fit with ease.
Embryo- commas carved on the heart
of a mom with “han” far away,
Creation in love in Korea, these babes,
fruition in love in my arms.
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