a gift of my ancestor’s blood

by Keiko Shibata




an aging woman’s eyes

the gaze at a horizon of the past

a bent back struggles for height

the old fisherman coughs

with creased, blemished cheeks

he has seen so much

yet aware that he’s an infant

a youth with impatient taste

restless within and without

the color of skin colors thought

and the color of thought colors skin

so many crowded faces

as I walk down the faceless street

westernize, sanitize, homogenize

and Orientalize

with sunglasses a mask

who will I be today

what is my lover thinking

husband is on assignments

enveloped by life

am I so different

in no need of religion

rituals in morning are enough

in time I may be what I wish

an ancestor in memory

for someone unknown to me

is there no other way to be

I suppose not

a smile is a tear

of soft joy

filtered by the sun.