there is a mcdonalds in harajuku close to the train station and it is a weekday tradition that her husband will pick up big macs after work. for nine months straight she eats only sodium for dinner, justifying the choice by her inflated stomach, with the distinct grease scent that makes her chest rise and fall in time with america.
every night he tugs his tie loose with one hand before presenting her feast and later does to her what spring does with the cherry trees. but japan is not where the coils of her brain were wrapped and no matter what they eat for dinner he cannot make her feel like she's sitting at the coffee table back home, smelling the orchards, recognizing faces in the paper, dandruff from her hair catching beneath his fingernails.
even on their egg box mattress pad instead of tatami she does not dream at night, thinking: this is not where my head lives, this apartment is not sacred. four and a half blocks away from the meiji shrine, tourists tread past barrels of sake dedicated to the land, photographing how picturesque alcohol is in the fog, and she is faithless.
never expected to have a child over here but it makes sense, really, mother, it makes so much sense in terms of time, she'll call long distance to connecticut, usa and hold the phone away from her mouth as she cries so hard that it's silent because being here is easy only when she forgets about the other places she'd rather be. her womb has turned into a grapefruit in the winter. she watches children in the neighborhood walk to school in pairs and can't imagine what it will be like to be peeled down the middle, wondering often what animal the scar will resemble.
washi paper is made from the bark of mulberry trees she tells the women of the tokyo american union church wednesday afternoons, three pm. teaching crafts because she's always been good with her hands. this place can become home if we make it, time turns us into who we become, the silent mantra hovering behind silver molars as she hollows out eggs, blowing her own youth through holes on either end.