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Each day I look more like my mother
and a hundred strangers who live in Japan.
Our only common thread is we all eat rice
and the sun falls with ease into our eyes,
that are turned in and back to the past to dream
of a time when honor and power were ours. We weep
for a loss that caused our servants to weep,
in the day when the sword ruled a mother's
decision to kill a baby daughter's dream
of a life filled with choice. Not in Japan
were these things found, sadness filled the girl's eyes
as tears fell into the milky water washing rice
in cold kitchens cramped with dampness. The rice
with raw egg could not stop sorrow. They still weep
for a day when women can look men in the eyes
and be as brave as they know they are. My mother
could not find that day. So she left Japan,
came here, to wince in her sleep and dream
of a land where age is venerated. She dreams
of the bowl in her mother's outstretched hand. How rice
steamed away chill in a snow covered Japan
of youthful memories, before the war. We weep
not knowing how it was for our mother.
Her past does not show through her sad eyes.
We look as deep as we dare into those eyes,
to seek what she knew, what haunts her dreams.
I look at my boys, who have the eyes of my mother,
as they laugh with mouths full of yellow egg rice.
A stirring begins in me and I weep
for something I never knew, but miss - it's Japan!
It's a myth that no longer exists - this Japan!
Where Tokyo outgrows the land and the eyes
look at sooty cherry blossoms. Now the reason to weep
is that life is so fast there is no time to dream
and Texas and Louisiana grow rice
that feed the kin of the mother of my mother.
We turn restless on foam-filled futons and dream
of the moonlight on paddies filled with sweet rice
as our rice shaped eyes weep for the dream Japan of my mother.