Incense Maker

My hands are an ancient trade, a meditative
creativity to connect with nature. I want the fragrant
echo of smoke, the incense spiral, the grey filament
to thread Heaven and Earth. How God is relative

to our arts. How the shapes of our hands craft
a world in which I milk the tree-sap and mix in
half-part cassia, sandalwood gum, herb and resin,
a pliable labdanum, ingredients young and soft

to make a fragrant braiding—one part
gold copal, one part dark copal, one part myrrh,
wood, spice, and flower crush. My hands tear,
chip and power the ingredients to a heart

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of elements. I freeze the resin and then grind
the mortar, let the mixture age to synergise
a cohesive aroma. Then, I reduce what I find.
I cut the resin into strings, cords to realise

what binds us to this world. I hold an art to purify
indoor spaces, an atmosphere of intimacy,
mystery, and play—a reverence for delicacy
and the day’s interconnections that may clarify.

My hands are an ancient trade

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Christine T.C.
10 months 4 weeks ago

I feel like that when kneading dough, sort of connected to all the women who fed their families through the ages. Our hands are an ancient trade, indeed.

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