When I look at you,
I see a map of history –
the Silk Road, Japan,
your genes a love song
to the riddle of human discord.
I see you as a girl hiding amid
persimmon trees as war loomed
in your father’s heart
and in the heart of your country.
I see you running from fire bombs
cascading over Shikoku
in a war that was not of your making,
your friends dying in the river,
the world you knew splintering.
I see you falling in love
with a man formerly your enemy,
wondering what the future held
for you and for your country,
a nation gasping for its breath,
the world watching with anticipation.
I see you in Kansas,
all the years of caring for children,
the struggles, the joys, the fears,
spoken and unspoken,
wondering if anybody heard you.
The long nights worrying
about the impact of war
on the soul of a husband lost to drink,
the questioning years of children
growing to leave and fight their own wars,
the living in a country
you had come to accept
but was never really a part of.
You were too different,
your husband too different,
your children too different
for the conceit of the times.
Let me sit with you and have tea.
We will contemplate
the blue, cloudless sky
and the clear green tea
that soaks into us like medicine.
You are my mother
and I am your daughter,
and we will carry on.
We will be resilient and endure.
2 thoughts on “A Poem Written for Setsuko Takechi on September 11, 2011￼”
Wonderful powerful and moving…your beautiful poem celebrating your mom with such love and gratitude for all she’s endured and overcome.
Thank you so much. I know you’ve lost a loved one, too, and I think of you as I navigate this new life.