The Belle of Osaka

On leave from the sanatorium,
I walk my departed mother’s house:
her bottle cap collection, portraits, pickles,
notes on the daughter she couldn’t marry off.
If only I hadn’t stuttered, slouched
or blotched my makeup, if only I’d sashayed
like Princess Di, spoken French and played Chopin;
I’d have matched the whims of any man.
Now my legs creak with the stairs I climb
past kimonos folded and boxed.
My nephew should catch me if I fall
but he sleeps in the spare room, door open,
hugging quilts that mother patched.  I watch him breathe.
The grip that shaped me crowds my breath away.

About the author

Michael Morical is a freelance editor in Taipei. He has lived in Taiwan for twelve of the last twenty-five years. He has also spent…

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Issue 10 · September 2010

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