Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Two Poems


The Dream of a Lacquer Box

I wish I knew the contents and I wish the contents
Japanese—

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.


Kimiko Hahn

Poetry

May 2012


To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem