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The Girl Without Arms


The Girl Without Arms is a figure in Japanese folklore—a young girl whose arms are lopped off by her father, and is left to die in the mountains.


The father, at the behest of his evil wife—the girl’s stepmother—lures the girl into the mountains at the promise of attending a neighboring festival. This is only the beginning of the tale.


The poems of Brandon Shimoda’s The Girl Without Arms are birthed of the rainy shut-in pause between steps forward and back in a season of great floods. In successive and interlocked sequences, these poems grapple with a seemingly unbridgeable confusion—related to love, the impossibility of life outside of love, and the unbearableness of life within it—as a way to give shape to the dark weather that permeates our lives, so as not to drown at its coming.

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