for my sister, Jane

Nobody understood her cruelty to herself. In this life, cruelty
begets cruelty, and, before long, one would have to chop off
one's own hand to end the source of self-torture. Yet, we
continue. Sister Mortar pounding on Sister Pestle. The hand
refuses to retreat, as if to retreat would mean less meat on
the table.

She, Mortar, the presentable one: clean, well kept, jade cross,
white colonial pinafore, shiny knees and elbows, straight As,
responsible hall monitor, future councilwoman. She is Yang:
heaven, sunlight, vigorous, masculine, penetrator, the

She, Pestle: disheveled, morose, soft spoken, a fearful dark
crucible. She is Yin: heaven's antithesis, moony, fecund,
feminine, absorption, the duad.