It just irked her no end when she couldn’t pull out the name
that should have matched the face in front of her.

She had in the past been able to grab a sliver of a syllable,
a letter like an “M“ that led to Martha or Milly or
some clue that pulled out a name.
When no letter came, she’d look at the face
and went through the alphabet: a, b, c, d, e . . .
until some sound from inside came out through
her tongue: Emma?
No, not Emma.
She waited for that feeling of relief, a confirmation
that she could remember.

So, do you know my name? asked
the face looking from the mirror.

Jean Toyama

Isn’t rounder
or stronger.
Not a face to be afraid
of in its song.
It is kinder,
more gentle,
by petticoat-white
lights, ruffled
as oncidium orchids.

. . . stares out in longing
for a simple kiss,
the precision of nesting tables,
the pin-wheel whites,
along the walkway
that brushed her skirts
as she walked by
and passed through sorrow,
of her life
and you.
The sky in the mirror
is blue, the grass green
and you want
to bring her flowers,
write her a poem
before she leaves.

Blue flowers open
near the cement pathway
and she walks down
porch steps.

The sky is lovely
as she breathes in
and walks to the car.

She has books to read
and lesson plans to prepare
for her first classes in the fall.

Before she leaves,
she looks up
to see birds flying
from the clouds.

—Ann Inoshita

Father Sky looked down
on all the beauty of Mother Earth
the hills, the valleys, then clasped her tightly.
So close was the embrace, their children
the winds, the forests, the birds
only knew darkness

On their knees and shoulders, the children
pushed them, no- ripped them apart so they
could live in the light. Father Sky grieved much.

Grandma grieves much.
Another week of that breathing tube
for you grandpa, another week of bloody
brown urine, beeping monitors and repentant nurses
“I’m so sorry, so sorry.”

We go to the chapel to pray, on our knees
she to the god of medicine, and I-
I dig my knees deep into this church pew, dig beneath
the dirty shag rug through the floor boards till
my knees rip the stitches binding us here
in this endless maze of tubes and feeble doctors.
On my shoulders I hold back grandma’s tears
your wedding vows and first home in Palolo valley.
The small things so heavy now, I carry too;
your calloused hands,
the smell of sardines and chili pepper water,
mending old fishing nets in the early morning.

I pray to cut the anchor of your sinking vessel
I pray you catch the tail of the wind
I pray a small light to lead you from this darkness

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