FROM BAMBOO RIDGE Issue Number 65/66, TSUNAMI YEARS, by Juliet S. Kono

Triggers for July:

1. not dead yet

2. trying to understand

3. the old were first to leave

4. life was good

5. I had fallen in love

6. to do my part

7. to make shame

8. nothing helps

“The Peddler”

Mountains rose above
our village like hands in prayer.

She shuffled from house to house
in a wide hat and straw slippers
and sold her fruits and vegetables.
Beneath to scallions, tangerines
and fingers of bananas,
she tucked a Bible.
After exclaiming how
sweet her fruits were,
she began preaching.
She called Mother pagan
for worshipping the Buddha.
“New country, new religion,” she said
to Mother who stroked us,
her salt-sticky children,
while shifting her feet,
one over the other,
gritty with black sand
that blew in from the beach.
Mother was polite,
open to different views.

In the tsunami disaster,
the vegetable peddler’s husband
was found feet first, his body
stuck in the mud like a stick;
and her daughter, barely weaned,
was caught on some tree.
The villagers picked her off
like sweet summer fruit.

Some people, my mother says,
found Christ that day;
others, left Him.


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