What river can wash us clean, to the essence?
Bone, flesh, hair, sweat, consciousness,
from crying infant to bent elder, are all we have.
Only death peels us back, layer by layer, to the core,
just like the cat, whose ninth life claims her
at the garden gate, where she has crept,
scented like rain.
–excerpt from “Purification,” in To Sip Darjeeling at Dawn by Donna Pucciani (Virtual Artists Collective 2011).