Day 21 – Ordinary Lady

Monday, September 21, 2009
Day 21
12:05 am – 1:05 am

“The ordinary
of everyday is much
greater than a miracle.” – Seicho-No-Ie

Ordinary Lady


Year after year
this lady
who was also my
but much before she was a grandmother
was a young mother
who sailed back and forth
between two countries
trying to make sure her children
would have the benefit of being American

Some journeys
were more successful than others
Some months
meant sustenance took precedence
over citizenship
I wish I asked her
when I had the chance if adventure
was ever present in those years
Her children seem quite certain
this was just the way it was


Imagine yourself
as an old woman
waking up everyday
to hear yourself in prayer
with the names of those deceased
before you lilting on your tongue
repeating the
same ritual
for another hour
every single night

I can not imagine myself
praying twice daily
much less praying once a day
much less praying
much less remembering
the names of every deceased person
before me
even as a person much younger
than an old woman who knew of
more dead than alive


She lived until the day after she turned
One Lady
looked directly in to the eyes of
any given person and said
“Genki! Genki!”
when asked her age and
how is your health

Another Beloved Lady
tugged at the passerby
with the intention of
answering the same
“I’m gonna die soon!”
She said this for
twenty years until she
passed on at the age of 88

traci kato-kiriyama



About traciakemi

traci akemi kato-kiriyama - inter/multi-disciplinary theatre/performance artist, arts educator, cultural worker, community organizer. Tuesday Night Project; theatre, performance, writing, and teaching projects with many organizations and artists including: zero 3; Edge of The World for Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia and the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York; "PULL" with Kennedy Kabasares in San Francisco; Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap Collaboratory I; TeAda; NCRR; Oymun's 11. Playwright for "Chasing Dad - a performance of a reading about a play i'm writing" presented by Inside the Ford for the Ford's Summer Playwright series. View all posts by traciakemi

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