by Catherine Cobb Morocco
Tiny porcelain cups. Hot sake,
Mother said. She nested a cup
in my palm, poured in warm water.
The marble at the bottom cleared to
a woman’s dark eyes, mouth, hair.
My dreams of three women in silk robes
painted with lilies, swans. Kimonos,
Mother said. Heads sag, they raise
their hands to shield their eyelids,
melting cheek skins, lips.
The word, Nagasaki. One month after,
Father drove a jeep over a plain called?
Epicenter, Mother says. He had a gun?
Don’t ask him. Loaded men from prisons
onto his battleship for home.
His present. In orange and green paper.
Just packages of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum,
in celophane, my sister said. Bought from
the airport. He stooped to hug us.
No, to see our baby brother.
The photo—smiling in his tilted sailor hat,
his navy suit with stripes on the collar.
On our bedroom wall with movie stars,
airplanes flying high over his head.
It’s a backdrop, Mother told us.