I received my tax return— it was very generous spring financial support from the American government— I saved most of the return because I am going to be out of college this summer and head into the worst economic situation. I can clearly hear, “Good luck getting a job,” so this tax return will definitely be the apartment rent for June, which is the anniversary month for my arrival in America.
Six years ago on June 1st, I came to America and would not have guessed that I would become a struggling job hunter with a Master’s degree six years later. Situations of being short on cash is only an experience in movies or musicals like RENT, which I believed in my B.C. “B”efore I was a “c”heerful girl who had no worries with God-like sunshiny hope and financial security from my family. I had never imagined that poor would slowly come toward my life. Working for rent and credit card payments and everything will be left in my pocket. No more new accordion pleat skirts, na…
Mr. Shinoda is my worlds-best beautician. Without his scissors— he has four scissors dangling around his waist like a cowboy with pistols— I have never had happy semesters.
I have naturally curly and unruly hair; especially with water from South Bend, my hair is out of control. They go wild every morning. I have no idea how they make permanent and complicated poses while I sleep. In front of the mirror, I have to tame individual strands to stay calm and make it as shiny as it can be. To be honest, I can comb my hair during spring break but not every day with classes and writing, which means that I am one of the mop-py haired girls on the campus.
So Mr. Shinoda designed my hair as a super easy maintain with minimum treatment, no hair drier, and comb free last November when I went back home to Japan. I usually meet him before I meet anybody else, even my own sister and grandparents. Because my mother treats me and my suitcases like a mop and bucket af…
"Greenhouse" is accepted by Pebble Lake Review for inclusion in the 2009 Health & Illness issue, which will be published in late May.
The foreign sky is foreign gray; my frozen marrow: my mother’s blood is carrots: her carrot cake, the crumbs scattered on the range and shears: sharp shears tangled with a steel kettle; it was the spell to find lost needles after she sewed a skirt: my gingham skirt; the needles pained my father’s eyeballs; his pallid tie: no job but his record player played Debussy; from the rusty sprinklers, the snail escapes and I still cower in the shrubs of rhododendron in the ever-green greenhouse; my mother listens to a music box on the first day of March: the warmest afternoon in a nameless city: miles away from the foreign gray.
I I caught a tremendous fish and held him beside the boat half out of water, with my hook fast in a corner of his mouth. He didn't fight. He hadn't fought at all. He hung a grunting weight, battered and venerable and homely. Here and there his brown skin hung in strips like ancient wallpaper, and its pattern of darker brown was like wallpaper: shapes like full-blown roses stained and lost through age. He was speckled and barnacles, fine rosettes of lime, and infested with tiny white sea-lice, and underneath two or three rags of green weed hung down. While his gills were breathing in the terrible oxygen --the frightening gills, fresh and crisp with blood, that can cut so badly— I thought of the coarse white flesh packed in like feathers, the big bones and the little bones, the dramatic reds and blacks of his shiny entrails, and the pink swim-bladder like a big peony. I looked into his eyes which were far larger than mine but shallower, and yellowed, the irises backed and packed with tarn…
Empty Suitcase: The Coldest Afternoon with a Yellow Sock
My hair was defying gravity under a knit hat and I wore a long black jacket with one sock, holding recyclable and non-recyclable plastic bags when I closed the front door. “Oops;” my key was still on the dining table. I locked myself out of my apartment on the coldest afternoon of March, early early spring days.
I did not freak out. I immediately accepted my situation and ridiculous outfit despite mothers shielding their children’s eyes as they passed. I just held my jacket tight in front of me and asked for a key from the office. At the main office, my legs shivering with one yellow sock, I gazed at the sign, “closed.”
Fortunately, I had my cellular phone in my pocket. It amazingly had enough battery and had all its bars— my phone somehow rejected most reception; perhaps, it is the dropout of perfect signals by AT&T— I texted my death metal guy to ask for his key.
Thirty minutes later, with three phone calls, two voice messa…