Day 248 – Excavation – 5

Friday, May 6, 2011
Day 248
10:54 am

Excavation – 5

5. Unpacking / Preparation



There was a box and a key
that my mom found belonged
to my dad long after his
funeral, no one could tell her
why the box was empty and
what it used to unlock, time
and again, when he was alive,
using that key in what seems
like a regular basis

It was a big question at hand
and she carried it around her
neck like a noose

One day, it seemed like both
the box and the rope had
vanished, and now I am the
one carrying the magnifying
glass, toes tipping around her
grief and her memory


I never knew until I was present
for my father’s cremation that,
after the body -in cardboard
box- is placed in the incinerator
to vaporize, there are still
bones, pieces of bones, left
to be separated from the ashes

I, still too steeped in the sight
of the box and the fire, walked
away without asking what
would happen to the bones
that no fire could make


After a large move, we need
time to figure out where
to put our 3rd grade
essays and hand-printed
ceramic name plates, much
more time than what we
need to access right away,
the coffee cups, the rice cooker,
the everyday dishes and forks
and spoons

The deeper boxes come later,
with more care, more time


I am unsure whether I
am ready, but perhaps
it is exactly why we
do this, to write what we
do not know and hope to
uncover what we need
to find, whether they appear
in lacquered boxes
or dirty coffins, whatever
the package, we have
no choice but to seek it



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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