yūgen (Jan Dean)

almost me, almost you

imagine you were meant to be
half of two       but disturbance
                caused absorption
a rush of amniotic fluid floated

entopic and phantom as questions
                 for too long you felt
something missing     something

amiss       a wish for shared experience
                  like dancing a fandango
and completed sentences     something
to compensate for      or complement

your failings      and you didn’t know
                   who what or why
too much uncertainty takes

too big a toll      as if your atoll
should be a twin island     entrance
to a magical territory    instead of

forever out of bounds    never found
always a mystery    your invisible
companion    lost bodyguard


had we prescience
at such an early stage
we might beg our twin
to share this dissolve
and what comes after
if only now and then

in exchange we could impart
the prayer of a bud, a bone
the downwards drift of petals
things of true importance

yūgen or grace, subtle
and profound, tells of a melt
not into or out of nothingness
but to or from potential

one wave does not
an ocean make
yet wave upon wave
pulses perfection


Jan Dean, a former visual arts teacher, is published in Shuffle (Spineless Wonders) as 2019 Hunter category winner of the Joanne Burns Award. Forthcoming collection is Intermittent Angels (Girls on Key Press). Current poems appear in FemAsia and Not Very Quiet. Poetry credits include three Newcastle Poetry Prize anthologies.