Day 71 – swallowed

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Day 71
5:30 pm


sometimes we forget things
because we are too full
to swallow new information

smack dab in the middle of the ER at Kaiser, so familiar
by then I had a favorite parking spot out in front,

Dad had his own tiny room for hours while nurses tried
to locate a sufficient bed in the middle of the night

Mom and I took half hour turns to sit with him as his
body took turns with wincing and even breaths

I made even trades with being a doting caretaker and an
eager daughter with a magnifying glass over every word

there was a part of me,
wind knocked out of my skin,
that wished I had been too
busy or worried to listen well

while sitting there next to him, “I have no regrets,” he said,
sweet as I’d ever heard a man speak,

“only that you never gave me grandchildren.”

the moment proved I can win any staring contest, sit zen-like
through a hurricane, or grin against a barrage of epithets

because while I could no longer feel my belly beneath my chest,
I sat with him, listened calmly, and returned his smile

for a substantial amount of time, I kept that moment with me,
gnawed at each word, poor child around a greasy bone,

until I was stuffed, too full of the time slipping underneath us, dirt
below my feet, scent of ashes filling my nose

and we were on to the next thing, flesh to furnace, dust to the
urn, spirit to the path, moments placed in faraway vaults

years later now, I uncover those words in musings of my own
future as a parent, on whether or not that will happen,

whether or not stark words from within a sterile room still haunt
me, whether or not they forever will, remains unknown



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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