Day 123 – salted hands

Friday, January 1, 2010
Day 123
1:43 am – 2:28 am

salted hands

a recipe died
with my grandfather

it was something about
his cheese sauce
and probably the fact
he brought lobsters
home while they
were still alive

my mother
could not fathom
killing a lobster herself

she tried
and could not
recreate the dish
without sauce
from the recipe
she never wrote down

though i will never know
the way grandpa’s
signature
would make a mark
on my palate
i have learned a few
of mom’s
treasures for my
own kitchen

she,
after all,
ushered me in
to miso salmon,
taught me her
most popular chicken,
and shared with me
the ease of her
osechi recipes
for new years
burdock root
and
sweet anchovies

but
one thing
of hers
i may
never
quite
get
is
her onigiri

a ball
of rice
with
salt
and
nori

there is rarely
anything else
quite like
it

it holds
nothing
in its middle

it is not a
perfect
triangle

it is not
a mass
of expensive rice

the seaweed
nor
the salt
are ever
anything
not on sale

it permeates more
than memory

it is enough to make her
Nisei peers groan

it is the way
she salts her hands

it is in her
touch as she molds it

it is simple
but not easy

it has no recipe

tkk

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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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