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When the welling inside her finally spilled forth, it ripped everything from the inside out. It pulled the walls down, and the hairline crack in her foundation stretched and snarled until the ground gave way beneath her feet. Then her words finally failed her.

In the rubble, she gave it all away: the furnishings, the food, the clothes, the instruments that make up a life, those that build a home, those that speak of what was there, the symbols of a life.

In the midst of the collapse, she viewed the letting away as a necessary slash and burn, a throw back to the anthropogenic fires of ancient civilizations. The landscape of her space obliged her to make way, to pull its rotted root, and to haul it all away. This purge — its blazing fire, the noxious smoke, the dying embers — calmed her.

Days later she held in her splintered hands the remains of what was. She recalled the delicate Unryu rice paper she’d bought years before. In the light, its feathery fibers twined like cherry blossom branches and it was completely translucent. She remembered the care she took when she carefully parsed together charcoaled words upon that paper. When rubbed, charcoal coursed like blood through its porous fibers. She learned to blow away the charcoal, lest she stain the paper with her mistakes.

Mostly, she remembered Unryu rice paper is surprisingly difficult to tear.

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