The Dream of a Lacquer Box
I wish I knew the contents and I wish the contents
like hairpins made of tortoiseshell or bone
though my braid was lopped off long ago,
like an overpowering pine incense
or a talisman from a Kyoto shrine,
like a Hello Kitty diary-lock-and-key,
Hello Kitty stickers or candies,
a netsuke in the shape of an octopus,
ticket stubs from the Bunraku—
or am I wishing for Mother? searching for Sister?
just hoping to give something Japanese to my daughters?
then again, people can read anything into dreams
and I do as well. I wish I possessed
my mother's black lacquer box
though in my dream it was red,
though I wish my heart were content.
A Bowl of Spaghetti
"To find a connectome, or the mental makeup of a person,"
researchers experimented with the neurons of a worm
then upgraded to mouse hoping
"to unravel the millions of miles of wire in the [human] brain"
that they liken to "untangling a bowl of spaghetti"
of which I have an old photo: Rei in her high chair delicately
picking out each strand to mash in her mouth.
Was she two? Was that sailor dress from Mother?
Did I cook from scratch? If so, there was a carrot in the sauce
as Mother instructed and I'll never forget
since some strand determines infatuation as a daughter's fate.
Poetry May 2012
Copyright © 2012 by Kimiko Hahn
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission