Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2010

I tune the radio.
Rakhmaninov’s piano phrases
vibrate crisp
apples on a window sill. I smell

burning ginkgo leaves. My mother said,
“Your father will die soon,” then she

glances through a children’s book.
After my father had brain
surgery, he forgot how to read. On the page,
he traces the word hippopotamus with his finger.

.....When the hippopotamus
.....jumped, her buttocks made a big hole.
.....“Little by little,” she said.
.....Little by little, she finds a way to be a ballerina.

After twenty seven
minutes, hippopotamus is a new
word for my father again. His right
fingers are cold. His left fingers cannot move.

I want to pour
kerosene into the burning ginkgo leaves. I grab
more apples, hippopotamuses,
and the radio,.....and my father.

I inhale the ashes of scorched
plastic and skin. His hair catches fire. I hear
a sutra like Rakhmaninov’s piano

from an apartment. On the dinning
room table, there is a roasted
chicken. The windows are misted. A woman calls a boy’s name.
Orange Obi-Tie, 1988

My mother sliced Japanese burdock.
Cabbage soup simmered on the stove.

It was always raining in 1988
after my mother took her Kimono wearing classes.

I waited for my father in front of the bus stop.
With his umbrella, I played in puddles on the asphalt street.

“You don’t have to cook this much everyday,”
my father said drinking glasses of beer.

My mother showed him her new silk obi-tie.
It was bright orange under the dining room light.

My father had a cerebral hemorrhage.
His brain forgot everything after 1988.

Through his nostrils,
yogurt formula comes down in tubes and his body digests it.

His laundry bags are putrid and cumbersome.

While I recite to myself why he has to live,
my mother folds the obi-tie.

After her Kimono class, she eats soba-noodles
and visits my father with clean underwear.