Poetry

Yadoru

When I was a boy

My father used to tell me it was a man’s world

And to grow up meant to trade comfort for duty

My mother taught me how to make art

I used to watch her carve kokeshi every day

Their faces marked with funny little grins

Like they were in on a joke that only the two of us understood

And when she died it felt like a part of me went with her

So, I preserved the rest of my childhood inside a kokeshi

Innocence chiseled in wood

Sculpted out of memory

Sometimes, my daughter takes hold of the child I once was

And runs around the garden laughing and yelling

When she squeezes too hard I let her know

And I tell her stories of obaasan

Until the day comes when she’s making figurines for her own family

And we’re all just raw material stacked on shelves

Destined to outlive our bodies