Alluvial Deposits (after Carboplatin chemotherapy)

September 18, 2023 |

Maya Kini, Liberty Coin Ring (In Last Light), 2023. 1 troy ounce 24k gold liberty coin, defaced with a PUK welder, punched and forged, 2½ x 1½ x ¼ in. | Photo by the artist
Maya Kini, Liberty Coin Ring (In Last Light), 2023. 1 troy ounce 24k gold liberty coin, defaced with a PUK welder, punched and forged, 2½ x 1½ x ¼ in. | Photo by the artist
Maya Kini

Maya Kini

Maya Kini is a visual artist, poet and mother of two who lives in San Francisco. Her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, River Heron Review, Wildfire Magazine and Crucible. Her favorite material is gold for its capacity to stretch, to tell stories and to endure. (mayakini.com)

Alluvial Deposits (after Carboplatin chemotherapy)

My friend with size 12 fingers insists on platinum
so I set to work carving wedding ring from wax block
refining the crude hacks of my handsaw
with a file and a multitude of sandpapers.

It weighs barely a gram, this brittle model
but transformed into metal it will become
a heavy ballast, it will right the ship,
at least that is what my friend imagines.

I carve slashes into satiny 600-grit surface
as if it has been mauled by a bear my friend directs me
he is watching a Werner Herzog movie
about caves and signs, man and animal.

He wants the animal present in the ring I craft.
I could hone a bear claw, make a tiny tool
become a Wild Thing scratching at ring’s surface
instead, I use precision tungsten burrs to engrave an ursine alphabet.

II
What constitutes treasure is subject to interpretation.
Aguirre, spun round on a river raft, searching
for El Dorado. The contents of the treasure chest
are usually gold and gems, perhaps feathers
ink, bone, water.

I’ve never seen a chest full of silver’s dull, heavy relative

But I’ve tasted it. Platinum flowed through my veins.
I have known it to be a precise poison
that lingers still
as heavy metals do.

When my living is done
when blood and bile leach back into earth
when my seas evaporate
and my fascia lets go
the well-built pyre of my bones
will reach substantial temperatures
capable of drawing platinum out
and you will find that all along
deep in marrow  hair follicle
it’s been mating with the gold.

Maya Kini, Edward, 2006 (Purse Contents series). Photograph of ¼ round 22k gold coin with ornamental bail on chain. | Photo by the artist

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