The Dream of a Lacquer Box

By Kimiko Hahn Kimiko Hahn
I wish I knew the contents and I wish the contents
Japanese —

like hairpins made of tortoiseshell or bone
though my braid was lopped off long ago,

like an overpowering pine incense
or a talisman from a Kyoto shrine,

like a Hello Kitty diary-lock-and-key,
Hello Kitty stickers or candies,

a netsuke in the shape of an octopus,
ticket stubs from the Bunraku —

or am I wishing for Mother? searching for Sister?
just hoping to give something Japanese to my daughters?

then again, people can read anything into dreams

and I do as well. I wish I possessed
my mother’s black lacquer box

though in my dream it was red,
though I wish my heart were content.

Source: Poetry (May 2012).


Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Kimiko Hahn

Subjects Living, Life Choices, Parenthood, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Home Life, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse