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Jen Bervin

By This Poet

1

shakuhachi repertoire, handwritten from liner notes

you’re embarrassed by your own om
you say—planning your funeral
considering deep drones
 
only a limited number of patterns
exist for such a song
played in one breath
 
a prayer for a pregnant woman’s easy delivery
a tender preamble for a new instrument
a piece played for expressing gratitude
 
a state of mind resembling moonlight
a lighter one for festive occasions
a piece for overcoming difficulties that could have been handled better
 
a piece representing manifestations of self-discipline
an offering at a service for the dead
a piece expressing longing for home
 
if there are indeed
“still songs to sing beyond mankind”
we’ll need those
 
now