Day 255 – (extra)ordinary lady – 4

Thursday, May 13, 2010
Day 255
3:35 pm

(extra)ordinary lady – 4

As a kid
I imagined
That I’d
One day be
Just like my

That by
The simple fact
Of being her
I would naturally
Reach one hundred
And two years just like her

I’d still cook and take care of
Everyone, even my grown
Adult children

She was the funny lady
We all looked up to
For her subtle determination

At a constantly shrinking
4’8″ or less
She was a relentless force
Who got what she wanted
At the pleasure of
Every family member
Or stranger around her,

Eating half of the chocolate
Cake because, well, it
Her birthday cake

Some said her long life was
Because of her strength
How she endured
Losing her first son to the
Fallout of the atomic bomb,
Raising the rest of the children
In America by herself, and
Letting her husband
Return to Japan,
Furious as he was at this
Country during the war

Some said it was due to
Her gumption to keep
Walking each day
To the store and back,
A mile and a half each way

I gather it was a combination
Of things

Her hearty hands around
The chickens she raised
In the backyard and
The vegetables and flowers
She gardened with such
Deft, nurturing hands
You could smell
Her joy in the roses
And taste her spirit
Through every cucumber
And cherry tomato

It was
Her persistent smile and
Her insistence that
Every passerby
Deserved to receive
At least that much
Along with some genuine
Care and respect

It was
Her capacity to
Forgive without fear
Or resentment all those
Who wronged her
And there were many,
You’d just never guess it

It was
Her sense of humor
And that her favorite song
Don’t Worry, Be Happy

It was that shot of
She took each day
Without fail

I have
So far to go
As I will forever
Be in search of her

The parts and the sum
And the whole of her
I wish to eek out
Of me

Give me years
Give me decades

Give me time
To bring her to
My surface and
Let her live
That much longer



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

2 responses to “Day 255 – (extra)ordinary lady – 4

  • libertad

    Wow. Just reading this I imagine this is something to be read aloud, to be proclaimed. I think that your grandma would certainly be able to hear this and smile in her grave, but I’m positive she can feel it already. You definitely paint a very powerful picture of who she was and it’s definitely an inspiring piece to read.

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