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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.