The Dream of a Lacquer Box
I wish I knew the contents and I wish the contents
like hairpins made of tortoiseshell or bone
though my braid was lopped off long ago,
like an overpowering pine incense
or a talisman from a Kyoto shrine,
like a Hello Kitty diary-lock-and-key,
Hello Kitty stickers or candies,
a netsuke in the shape of an octopus,
ticket stubs from the Bunraku —
or am I wishing for Mother? searching for Sister?
just hoping to give something Japanese to my daughters?
then again, people can read anything into dreams
and I do as well. I wish I possessed
my mother's black lacquer box
though in my dream it was red,
though I wish my heart were content.
Kimiko Hahn's Other Poems
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